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Development of Radiotherapy in the Netherlands Cancer Institute for the Last 100 Years

Historad.nl – the unique website about the historical development of radiotherapy in the Netherlands Cancer Institute – provides more information than ever and comes to you in English.

Amsterdam, May 2015
In 2013 the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) celebrated its centennial anniversary. On this memorable occasion a special website was launched covering the historical development of radiotherapy in the Netherlands Cancer Institute, including medical physics and radiobiology, with many detailed stories and unique images: www.historad.nl. It is a real ‘must visit’ for those interested in the history of radiotherapy and of the Netherlands Cancer Institute in particular.

Dutch and English version
The website fully supports both languages. The language can be selected on the landing page of www.historad.nl.

Of historical importance
The Historad website describes the development of radiotherapy along a timeline from 1851 to 2013. The starting point is the establishment of the world’s first cancer institute in England in 1851, which set an example and inspired other initiatives, like the founding of the Netherlands Cancer Institute. The Historad website covers more than 140 subjects with over 300 photos, images, short movies and an extensive literature list with sources and publications. Research into archives and interviews with descendants of pioneers in radiology has revealed unknown documents, stories and images that give insight in the historical development of radiotherapy.

“For three years a group of former employees researched the history and investigated the development of radiotherapy in the Netherlands Cancer Institute”, explains Professor Marcel Verheij, head of Radiotherapy of the Netherlands Cancer Institute NKI. “The result is widely talked about and of great historical value.” The website also clearly shows the milestones in the history of radiotherapy. Verheij: “Where in the past, due to limited patient imaging, very large irradiation fields had to be given, we can nowadays irradiate a tumour to the square millimetre. The radiation dose can as it were be directed to spare surrounding healthy tissues. It is special to also see this technological progress and with it the improvements in the treatment of the patients so clearly in time.”

Influential contribution
In the Netherlands Cancer Institute research and treatment of cancer at a high level go hand in hand. For more than a century this integral approach has resulted in an influential contribution of the Radiotherapy department to the development of new insights and better medical equipment. Both nationally and internationally the department has an outstanding reputation, due to contributions to research, education, medical and technical developments and collaborations

Task group Historad
Historad is the Historical Society of the Radiotherapy department of the NKI. It started in 2011. Permanent members are Riet van der Heide, former chief radiation therapists; Vera Reijnders, management assistant head of Radiotherapy; Henk van der Gugten (coordinator), technical specialist and former head of the technical group; Bart van Bunningen, radiation oncologist; Iain Bruinvis, medical physicist and former head of clinical physics and instrumentation.

For more information please contact the task group Historad (info.historad@xs4all.nl) or Vera Reijnders (v.reijnders@nki.nl or +31 20 512 2120.