Proton Beams Emerge as Gold Standard in Therapy


Back in 1990, when Loma Linda University Medical Center first began treating patients with proton therapy, it was called the future of cancer treatment. Now, eight years and almost 5000 patients later, proton beam therapy is blazing a new trail for cancer treatment into the next millennium and is looked upon as the "gold standard" of treatment for people with localized cancerous tumors. Additional centers are being planned, and the first one on the East Coast, a joint project of Mass General and Harvard, will open in Boston early next year.

The Proton Center at Loma Linda University in Southern, California uses high-energy proton particles --a significant advancement over traditional radiation treatment -- to deliver a beam of particle energy with surgical precision to a specified spot in the body. Side effects typically associated with conventional radiation are virtually eliminated. Proton therapy is used in more than 20 cancer sites and on other diseases as well.

This form of therapy is called "bloodless surgery" because it leaves vital organs and healthy tissue near the tumor unaffected. It has none of the traumatic side effects associated with other therapies. It's painless and has been found to be useful in treating a variety of conditions, such as:

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