The Maryland Proton Treatment Center has announced that it will open its doors in 2015, a $200 million investment that will bring proton therapy, one of the most advanced forms of cancer treatment available today, to Baltimore and the Mid-Atlantic Region. The announcement is yet another example of how proton beam therapy continues to gain popularity among researchers and clinicians alike.
Following the opening of the new center, a team of radiation oncology experts from the University of Maryland School of Medicine published an opinion article in this month’s issue of The Cancer Letter, entitled, “Letter to the Editor Expanding the Horizons Of Proton Beam Therapy,” explaining why patients suffering from multiple types of cancer will benefit from specialized proton beam therapy as a treatment method instead of the more commonly used radiation methods.
The letter aims to demystify the notion that proton therapy is mainly used only to treat prostate cancer, arguing that this type of specialized treatment is currently underused and causes less damaging side effects than traditional radiation methods, since it is characterized by its significantly lower total body integral dose relative to photon therapy, this way preserving more healthy tissue.
“Thanks to our unique partnership with the Maryland Proton Treatment Center, we are able to stay at the forefront of cutting-edge therapies, ensuring patients suffering from cancers of all kinds have the most progressive and least invasive treatments,” said Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, Vice President of Medical Affairs at the University of Maryland in a Newswise interview.
This opinion letter came as a response to a recently published article in the same journal, stating that 85% of patients treated with proton therapies have prostate cancer, an erroneous statistic that no longer holds true, since nowadays, this type of cancer accounts for less than 50% of all the treatment’s use.
The oncologists extensively explained current proton therapy perspectives, explaining why its use is increasing over time and highlighting the direction this technology is moving towards. Details regarding availability, cost and supporting data from research studies were covered, noting that practitioners will need to become educated on the applicability of this innovative treatment, this way correcting the existing misconceptions.
“The next generation of proton beam therapy will increasingly be viewed as the preferred new radiation treatment for many types of cancers not previously treated with proton therapy and will give even more hope to many individuals living with cancer. It takes specialized teams like ours to present the facts about proton beam therapy to help educate practitioners to better understand what a unique resource we will now have at our fingertips,” added co-author of the letter William F. Regine, MD, in the interview.