The giant particle-smashing machine run by CERN outside Geneva is not only unravelling the mysteries of the universe, it may also be opening up new avenues to treat cancer.
Now a small British company, Advanced Oncotherapy, aims to tap into that know-how through a small deal to acquire a CERN spin-off business developing new forms of radiotherapy to fight tumours.
The spin-off, known as Adam, was established in 2007 by CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, to build low-cost innovative accelerators for proton beam therapy (PBT) and conventional radiotherapy.
Unlike traditional X-rays, PBT can blast tumours without damage to surrounding tissue - a particular benefit when cancer occurs in the brain, spine or eyes.
Protons are fundamental particles found inside the atomic nucleus and can be focused much more accurately than X-rays. The big problem is that the large accelerators needed to make them are very expensive, raising questions over cost-effectiveness.
In future, scientists at CERN believe they can make them far more cheaply by using a new kind of linear accelerator. The approach is expected to reduce costs by around two-thirds, according to a spokesman for Advanced Oncotherapy.
Advanced Oncotherapy will pay for Adam in shares, giving CERN scientist Alberto Colussi, who founded the CERN business, a continuing stake in the technology.