Harvard Cyclotron Laboratory

Coordinates: 42°22′48″N 71°06′58″W / 42.380°N 71.116°W / 42.380; -71.116
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The control panel of the Harvard Cyclotron Laboratory circa 1950

The Harvard Cyclotron Laboratory operated from 1949 to 2002. It was most notable for its contributions to the development of proton therapy.[1]

The Harvard Cyclotron Laboratory was built with office of Naval Research funds between 1946 and 1949 to replace an earlier, lower energy, cyclotron that was sent to Los Alamos for use in the Manhattan Project.[2][3] Until 1961, the laboratory primarily performed experiments in physics. The lab performed research and development in particle physics (including particle detectors development and testing), activation analysis, radiobiology, and solid state physics.

The control panel of the Harvard Cyclotron Laboratory in 1989

The use of proton particle accelerators for external beam radiotherapy was largely developed at this facility in collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital.[4] From 1961 to its closing, the laboratory provided proton therapy to over 9,000 patients.[5] After 1974, "almost 3,000" patients were treated for ocular (eye) diseases.[6] By the time the lab closed in 2002, its proton therapy treatments had been transferred to The Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center[7] (then the Northeast Proton Therapy Center) at Massachusetts General Hospital.[4]

The cyclotron during construction in 1948. Shown are Dr. Lee Davenport (L) and Dr. Norman Ramsay (R).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gottschalk, B.; A M Koehler; J M Sisterson; M S Wagner (Jan 1999). "Synchrocyclotron survivor to bow out after 50 years". CERN Courier. CERN. 39 (1). Retrieved 25 Feb 2010.
  2. ^ Richard Wilson, "A Brief History of the Harvard University Cyclotrons", Harvard University Press, 2004
  3. ^ Williams, Lawrence E. (2004-12-01). "Book Review: A Brief History of the Harvard University Cyclotrons". American Journal of Roentgenology. American Roentgen Ray Society. 183 (6): 1558. doi:10.2214/ajr.183.6.01831558.
  4. ^ a b "The Harvard Cyclotron Laboratory". Harvard University. Retrieved 2009-09-19.
  5. ^ "Proton Beam Neurosurgery: Neurosurgical Service". Massachusetts General Hospital. Retrieved 2009-09-19.
  6. ^ Newhauser, W. D.; J. Burns; A. R. Smith (September 2002). "Dosimetry for ocular proton beam therapy at the Harvard Cyclotron Laboratory based on the ICRU Report 59". Medical Physics. American Association of Physicists in Medicine. 29 (9): 1953–1961. doi:10.1118/1.1487425. PMID 12349914. Retrieved 19 September 2009.
  7. ^ "Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center". Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. Archived from the original on 2009-06-14. Retrieved 2009-09-19.
42°22′48″N 71°06′58″W / 42.380°N 71.116°W / 42.380; -71.116