Exceptional results in cancer treatment using pencil-beam scanning is being reported by the Scripps Proton Therapy Center in San Diego, the nation’s first proton therapy center treating patients exclusively with this kind of technology.
Carl Rossi, M.D., medical director of the Scripps Proton Therapy Center in San Diego, presented the assessment at the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) annual meeting, noting that physicians at the center were capable of treating extensive tumor sites in its first months when compared to other new proton centers that took more than one year to accomplish the same results.
Additionally, the new center can provide precise radiation delivery while treating larger tumor fields than previously possible, this way allowing greater treatment efficiency.
Due to the capabilities of pencil-beam scanning, since February, the Scripps center has treated several tumor sites such as lung, brain, head and neck, central nervous systems, pancreas, rectum, esophagus, breast, testis and bone, amongst others.
The center’s ProBeam® pencil-beam technology enables a more specific radiation dose delivery while allowing doctors to vary the radiation dose within the tumor target. Furthermore, it can treat larger and more irregularly shaped fields, becoming less time consuming than individually treating multiple tumor fields.
The Scripps Center is a member of the Proton Collaborative Group (PCG), and is currently involved in a PCG registry trial that aims to collect clinical outcomes data from patients, this way optimizing proton therapy. Moreover, due to its involvement with, NRG Oncology, a collaborative research organization of the National Cancer Institute, it will also become involved in prospective randomized research trials comparing proton and X-ray radiation therapy.
Pencil-beam scanning enables a better tumor visibility that can ultimately lead to improved treatment plans. “For example, with a prostate patient, I may be able to see within the prostate gland and identify an area I want to hit harder. With head and neck patients, we can differentiate the lymph nodes more easily,” said Dr. Rossi in a PR Newswire press release.
Importantly, access to this kind of technology can help doctors to order scans to screen a patient’s anatomy and study tumor regression throughout treatment, adapting the radiation fields according to the changes in tumor structure.