Next-Generation Proton Therapy Tool Boosts Accuracy, Further Minimizing Radiation Exposure to Healthy Tissue
Unlike conventional radiation treatments in which the beam penetrates all the way through the target tumor into the normal tissues behind the cancer, proton beams deliver their dose to the tumor without any dose reaching the deeper tissues. Pencil beam scanning couples this unique property of the proton beam with an electronically guided scanning system that delicately and precisely moves a beam of pencil point sharpness back and forth across each layer of the tumor’s thickness to paint the tumor with radiation in three dimensions while eliminating dose to the normal tissues on the other side of the cancer. This ultra precision makes pencil beam scanning an ideal treatment for irregularly shaped tumors that are located next to critical tissues and organs, such as tumors of the prostate, brain or eye.
Proton therapy is clinically proven to be beneficial in treating a broad range of tumor types including prostate, head and neck, brain, central nervous system, lung, sarcomas, gastrointestinal and many pediatric cancers. Because of its unique precision compared to standard radiation treatment, proton therapy minimizes the risk of radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissue. The addition of pencil beam scanning enables physicians to configure the proton beam’s range and dosage to an even more precise three-dimensional target area, further limiting side-effects patients may experience.
“Pencil beam scanning is one of the most highly developed tools
available to radiation oncologists today, and we are very pleased to
offer our patients this new dimension of precision and flexibility in
planning radiation treatments,” said Dr.
Michael Cutilo, two-time cancer survivor and one of the first prostate cancer patients to be treated with pencil beam scanning for a recurrence after undergoing a prostatecomy, states, “Anytime you can treat someone with cancer through a minimally invasive technology such as proton therapy, it’s a step in the right direction. I’ve received proton therapy for the last month – my treatment duration has been short, and I’m feeling little to no side-effects.”
While traditional proton therapy achieves treatment precision through the use of custom-made compensators and apertures designed to shape and limit penetration of the beam, these devices must be designed for each patient and changed throughout the course of therapy as tumors change shape or position. Doing away with these components through the use of pencil beam scanning technology will reduce the time it takes to deliver proton therapy to patients.
“Embracing advanced technology at our Center is an important element as we look for ways to provide patients with the most effective and efficient treatments,” said Dr. Cahlon. “It is our mission at ProCure to improve the lives of patients with cancer by expanding access to proton therapy to optimize both the chance of cure and the quality of life for our patients.”
About Proton Therapy
Proton therapy is a unique form of precision radiation that directly attacks tumors while minimizing potentially damaging radiation to surrounding healthy tissues and organs. As with standard radiation therapy (which uses photons or X-rays), proton therapy kills cancer cells by preventing them from dividing and growing. The difference between protons and conventional radiation is that protons deposit most of their energy (radiation) directly into the tumor with less dose delivered to adjacent normal tissues, allowing patients to receive higher, more effective doses while simultaneously reducing damage to healthy tissue near the tumor.
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