PROTON NEWS

New Proton Therapy Equipment Enables More Tumors to be Treated at University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Feb 23, 2009 An advance in the way protons are delivered at the University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute enables physicians to treat tumors that are deeper in the body, tumors that are very large and tumors that are situated closer to vital organs. Called uniform scanning, the new device moves a single beam of protons in a sweeping or "scanning" motion, enabling the beam to reach deeper into the body and to cover a wider treatment area than the more commonly used scattering method. Until now the proton beam was "scattered" and flattened using round filters that limited how deep and how wide protons could travel into the body.

Proton therapy will now be a possible treatment option for prostate cancer patients with a hip circumference of more than 50 inches and for sarcoma patients with tumors larger than 9.4 inches. Uniform scanning also means significant medical advantages for patients with tumors in the head and neck, brain or spinal column since it can cover the target area more efficiently than the scattering method.

"With proton therapy, our ability to precisely deliver radiation to the tumor without damaging normal healthy tissue is the main advantage for all patients," said Dr. Nancy Mendenhall, UF Proton Therapy Institute's medical director. "Uniform scanning takes us to the next step in improving delivery of protons, eventually leading to more intense and fewer doses and the potential to further decrease risk of complications."

The technology was developed over the past four years by IBA in collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital and the UF Proton Therapy Institute. IBA is the leading manufacturer of particle therapy equipment, with international headquarters in Belgium and a United States proton therapy headquarters in Jacksonville.

"The immediate advantages of uniform scanning are evident in the increased number of patients and types of tumors we will be able to treat," said Dr. Zuofeng Li, UF Proton Therapy Institute's director of physics. "Over time, we expect additional clinical advantages to emerge."

UF Proton Therapy Institute is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization affiliated with the UF College of Medicine and the UF Shands Cancer Center, national leaders in cancer treatment and research. UF Proton Therapy Institute is dedicated to delivering state-of-the-art cancer treatment and strives to set new standards for treating and curing the disease. The cancer treatment facility houses both conventional radiation and proton therapy, and delivers proton therapy to more than 100 patients a day. For more information about UF Proton Therapy Institute, please visit www.floridaproton.org, or call toll-free 877-686-6009.

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