Halcyon, the third particle accelerator allowing the treatment of cancers by radiotherapy, was inaugurated yesterday at the Ormeau clinic.
Halcyon, this is the name of the third machine which will treat cancer patients in the Hautes-Pyrénées with rays.
This latest-generation particle accelerator will make it possible to better meet needs because, as Dr. Guillaume Peyraga, manager of the Pyrenees Radiotherapy and Oncology Group (GROP) points out, “oncology activity is increasing. Screening is developing. There are more and more cancers. They are better and better treated and people are living longer and longer. There is an increased need for treatments, including radiation. To optimize care patients and treat them as quickly as possible, so we go from two to three machines. With, in addition, a better quality of treatment, fewer side effects”.
Outwardly, the particle accelerator looks a bit like a scanner. A machine of this type costs €5 million for a lifespan of 10 years. It will treat between 50 and 60 patients a day. The ray session lasts about 10 minutes. Guillaume Peyraga underlines that in Tarbes, we treat all cancers, except those which affect children who are taken care of in referral centers, in Toulouse or Bordeaux.
“This machine is quite versatile. It will allow us to carry out appropriate treatments for patients with breast cancer, with blocked breaths which will allow us to best protect organs at risk such as the heart. It will also reduce the risk of subsequent toxicity.These are techniques that are used in all the major radiotherapy centers and that we have started to set up here, with more conventional machines… With now three machines on site, this will allow us to treat everyone more easily. We now have a more complete radiotherapy offer in Tarbes which will avoid sending patients to other sites”, explains Pierre-Marie Pialat, radiotherapist.
A new machine is good, provided you have staff to operate it. And on this side, Guillaume Peyraga welcomes a dense and reinforced team.
“It’s the level of excellence”
Dr Bernard Couderc, creator of the oncology center at the Clinique de l’Ormeau in 1972, which he directed until 2012, expressed his emotion at finding himself in this room “where he began 50 years ago radiotherapy in Bigorre…. In this room, more than a thousand patients have been treated and I have for them, as for my deceased colleagues, an affectionate thought and particularly strong memories… The GROP team today has been able to develop in the Pau-Tarbes-Lourdes triangle and well beyond, an exceptional offer of care in radiotherapy for Bigourdans, Béarn and even Gascon patients.With a very high-tech technical platform: 6 particle accelerators, 3 in Tarbes and 3 in Pau, a team of men and women at the top to pilot them. In short, it is the level of excellence… You are proving that with a lot of good will he intelligence, there is room for large-scale projects in two regions, Occitania and New Aquitaine, when we know how you cross borders. Congratulations for this success and thank you for all the patients affected by cancer”.