Welcome from PTCOG Chair

As the PTCOG Chair I am happy to welcome you to PTCOG 56 in Japan. I know how hard the local hosts are working to organize an exciting and topical meeting, capturing both the highlights of Particle Therapy as well as the ‘local flavor’. Japan has a long history in Particle Therapy and we look forward to the meeting there. In Japan, as well as the rest of the world, this past year has again seen a large growth in the number of particle therapy centers increasing accessibility to patients who will benefit from this modality. More and more institutions can now contribute to the body of scientific data that will help highlight the capabilities of Particle Therapy and therefore contribute to the future of Particle Therapy.

In no small way, PTCOG is the soul of the field of Particle Therapy community; from its early roots in helping to define the specifications and uses of the modality, to its growth as the premier scientific meeting in the field. Recently, the number of subcommittees within PTCOG has risen and the number of publications from these committees is increasing. PTCOG is indeed an appropriate place from which consensus guidelines and more will originate. It’s our job to identify the appropriate use of this powerful tool and put the cost and benefit discussions in the appropriate perspective. This includes both the positive and if any, negative indications. We should identify both and be the impartial conscience of the field.

PTCOG continues to evolve and members have ever growing opportunities to contribute. We now have clinical subcommittees for virtually every clinical site and some physics and technical based subcommittees. In addition, with the 2nd year of the Scientific Program Subcommittee, we are normalizing our scientific program, involving many abstract reviewers (more volunteers are welcome) and providing appropriate themes and keynote presentations. The publication subcommittee, with the International Journal of Particle Therapy is one place from which the voice of PTCOG can be heard in the broader community. We are reaching out to other Particle Therapy organizations to identify commonalities and ways in which we can collaborate. We are exploring the possibility of outreach initiatives in education and training. Finally, PTCOG is incrementally taking more responsibility of the organization of PTCOG meetings. Starting in Japan, the meeting will be jointly organized and the PTCOG role will be growing. In Japan, proposals for PTCOG 59 will be heard and the guidelines for these proposals will be different than in the past. If you are interested in hosting a future PTCOG, please request a host packet from the PTCOG secretariat.

Much of this growth would not be viable without the support of the Proton Therapy related vendor community. Their mission is tied to the mission of PTCOG in finding the optimal way to utilize the particle modalities. They are more than providing tools and we will be working more closely with them to bring together the practitioners in this vibrant field.

As usual, I look forward to hearing from you, about what you think and how you can help PTCOG grow and organize. Please do not hesitate to contact me or anyone on the Executive committee. I look forward to hearing from you and meeting with you in wonderful Japan.

Jay Flanz

Chairman of PTCOG

Jay Flanz