With its experimental facilities, PSI wants to understand the essential processes in living organisms at the molecular level. To this end, new methods for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases are to be developed. In the Visitors' Centre you can see the following exhibits amongst others:
The Gantry, a facility developed at the Paul Scherrer Institute, makes optimum use of protons in tumour irradiation. This unique technology doesn’t harm the surrounding tissue, as the tumours can be irradiated more accurately than with conventional irradiation methods.
In this art object dyed urea solutions grow into strangely beautiful crystal landscapes. Crystals are also used in research: to gain an understanding of the structure and function of protein molecules which control the behaviour of living cells in many ways, they are converted into crystalline form.
PSI experts develop novel substances for instance for cancer treatment in facilities of this kind. They incorporate short-lived radioactive atoms into suitable molecules. These therapeutic molecules are injected into the bloodstream, accumulate in a targeted manner in the tumour cells, and destroy them when the radioactive nucleus disintegrates.
PSI-Fachleute entwickeln an solchen Einrichtungen beispielsweise neuartige Substanzen für die Krebsbehandlung. Sie bauen kurzlebige radioaktive Atome in geeignete Moleküle ein. Diese Therapiemoleküle werden in die Blutbahn gespritzt, reichern sich gezielt an den Tumorzellen an und zerstören diese, wenn der radioaktive Atomkern zerfällt.