Since 2008, Schoenherr has been supporting EBG MedAustron GmbH (MedAustron) in the construction and implementation of the centre for ion therapy and research in Wiener Neustadt near Vienna, one of the most advanced cancer treatment and research centres worldwide. The ongoing environmental impact assessment (EIA) raised legal questions on numerous plant and environmental law issues, in particular the Environmental Impact Assessment Act (UVP-G), radiation protection law and hospital law.
In close cooperation with the MedAustron project team, Schoenherr obtained the EIA acceptance decision for the fourth treatment room in January 2022. In particular, this includes the granting of the licence to treat patients in this room equipped with a rotatable proton gantry, under hospital and radiation protection law.
This fourth treatment room is an important milestone for the centre. Radiation therapy was previously provided in two rooms, while a third treatment room is used for research operations. The fourth room now makes it possible to treat more patients and expands the range of tumour diseases that can be treated because the rotating proton gantry can manoeuvre the beam around the patients. The last expansion step was celebrated on 18 May, with MedAustron also outlining the next steps (more here).
"We are very pleased that the centre has obtained the operating licence for the fourth treatment room," says attorney Christoph Jirak, who is overseeing the project with Schoenherr partner Christian Schmelz. "It is great to reach such an important milestone together with the MedAustron project team which will allow for ongoing development at the frontier of what is medically possible."
MedAustron is a unique cancer treatment and research centre in Austria and one of only six comparable centres worldwide. Cancer patients receive help there with advanced, and one of the least available therapies, ion or particle therapy. This form of radiation therapy uses charged particles – protons or carbon ions – from a particle accelerator to treat tumours. In addition to clinical applications, MedAustron also conducts research to improve the therapy method and generate more evidence. MedAustron has been in operation since December 2016 and employs 250 people.
The Schoenherr team advising MedAustron in connection with the EIA process consists of Christian Schmelz (partner) and Christoph Jirak (attorney).