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Hospitals React To Proton Therapy Questions

Three hospitals react to KHN’s story on proton therapy with the statements:

Maryland Proton Treatment Center

Construction of the Maryland Proton Treatment Center is on schedule, and we plan to open our doors to patients next year.

We are very confident that the Maryland Proton Treatment Center will be successful. Our center is part of a highly developed, integrated system of hospitals in the region, all working together to ensure that cancer patients receive the care they need. This region has a very large population, and we see a real need here for this kind of innovative treatment approach. We will look to the scientific evidence, and what’s best for each particular patient, when deciding what treatments we use.

Many studies already show that proton treatment improves outcomes for different kinds of cancer. And there are more than 50 studies and trials now going on to see how best to use this treatment. This research will help us understand better how to use proton treatment most effectively. We remain confident that PBT can help many patients and are excited about how it improves patient’s lives.

It’s also important to emphasize that the proton treatment technology itself continues to improve rapidly. In particular, our center will use the latest proton approach, pencil beam scanning (PBS), which controls the radiation with extreme precision. PBS is a significant improvement over previous proton technologies.

— William F. Regine, executive director of the Maryland Proton Treatment Center and chair of radiation oncology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital‘s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center is excited to be moving forward with construction of the D.C. area’s first proton therapy program.  We have purchased the MEVION S250 proton therapy system which is the world’s smallest single room proton therapy system.  The MEVION S250 gives the same precise non-invasive treatments as the larger, more expensive proton therapy systems but because of its smaller size, the MEVION S250 uses a reduced footprint, has improved reliability and offers more efficient patient access, all at lower cost to build and operate.

Adding proton therapy to our arsenal of cancer-fighting tools is a natural progression for MedStar Georgetown whose Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center just earned prestigious redesignation as a “comprehensive cancer center” by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for the 21st year.  Adults and children who are patients in our well-established and renowned cancer center will benefit from the advantages of proton beam therapy over standard radiation in a cost effective way.  Proton therapy is part of the cutting-edge care patients in this region have come to expect from us.

We are confident that payors will agree that proton therapy is an important treatment option for patients suffering with many forms of cancer.

We look forward to breaking ground on the proton beam project this fall with completion expected in a little over a year.

Johns Hopkins Medicine, Sibley Memorial Hospital

While we don’t know all the issues that resulted in the closure of the Indiana University facility, some of the issues might be related to its location; within an area with a relatively small population, thus lacking a large patient population to support the center. Additionally, the Indiana facility is in need of major upgrades to allow it to deliver proton therapy to patients in the most contemporary manner, and the high costs associated with this renovation may have influenced the decisions to close the center.

This closure does not affect the Sibley Hospital proton therapy project, which is proceeding.

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