Willis-Knighton opens first proton therapy center of its kind

by Jessica Crandall , KTBS News

SHREVEPORT, La. - Willis-Knighton is getting worldwide attention for its new Proton Therapy Center off Kings Highway in Shreveport. The first patients received care on Tuesday, Sept. 9, heralding the beginning of a new era of cancer treatment for residents of the region.

The hospital has invested in the first compact machine that can deliver proton therapy as small as a pencil beam to cancer patients. It's a $40 million project that has been seven years in the making.

Dr. Lane Rosen said the technology is attracting people from across the region.

"The greatest benefit of IMPT [Intensity Modulated Proton Therapy] or proton therapy the way that we deliver it is that number one you get a reduced risk of late damage from the radiation. The second ability of protons, is that you can increase the dose to the tumor in a way unachievable with traditional radiation," said Rosen.

There are only 15 medical centers in the United States that offer proton therapy, including big names like MD Anderson Cancer Center and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. 

Proton therapy is the most precise form of radiation therapy available today, directing the energy of protons (very tiny parts of the atom) into the tumor with great precision. The protons conform to the exact shape of a tumor, sparing the healthy organs and tissue surrounding it. Unlike more traditional forms of radiation therapy, even image guided radiation therapy like TomoTherapy, proton therapy stops inside the tumor, targeting only the cancer itself. 

Patients and physicians seek out this technology because it not only provides exceptional targeting of tumors, but it also alleviates many of the side effects found with other cancer therapies.  Disease sites that will be treated at the WK Proton Therapy Center include tumors of the prostate, brain, central nervous system, cancers in the pelvic and abdominal area like rectal and pancreatic cancer, head and neck, and breast cancer. Patients treated at the WK Proton Therapy Center will be followed as a part of active clinical trials, paving the way for future uses of this technology in disease sites that have not traditionally been suited for radiation therapy. 

WK Proton Therapy Center:


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