News | April 02, 2013

New Proton Therapy Tool Increases Precision, Expands Types of Tumors Treated

Pencil beam scanning boosts accuracy, further minimizes radiation delivered to healthy tissue

CDH Proton Center, A ProCure Center

April 2, 2013 — The Warrenville, Ill.-based CDH Proton Center, A ProCure Center, announced the installation of pencil beam scanning, which delivers a more precise dose of proton therapy to further minimize exposure of healthy tissue to radiation and allow radiation oncologists to better treat more complex tumors.

Proton therapy targets tumors more precisely than standard radiation therapy, which uses X-rays and exposes both tumors and surrounding healthy tissue to radiation. With the addition of pencil beam scanning, radiation oncologists can refine the treatment’s precision, further limiting side effects patients may experience.

“Pencil beam scanning is one of the most advanced tools available to radiation oncologists today, and we are very pleased to become just the fourth center in the country to offer this to our patients,” said William Hartsell, M.D., medical director of the Center. “With its increased accuracy, we can now use proton therapy with some of the most challenging tumors, helping ensure that more patients will have access to this important treatment.”

Proton therapy is clinically proven to be beneficial in the treatment of cancerous and non-cancerous tumors of the head and neck, brain, central nervous system, prostate, lung, sarcomas, gastrointestinal and many pediatric cancers. It is especially effective for treating children and adults with anatomically complex tumors such as at the base of the skull and those along the spinal cord. Pencil beam scanning will allow radiation oncologists to more precisely treat many of these tumors and will be particularly beneficial for head and neck, base of skull and certain prostate tumors.

In addition to its clinical benefits, pencil beam scanning can help reduce treatment time, time between treatments and costs for patients. The system uses an electronically guided scanning system to carefully “paint” the tumor with radiation. A similar effect is achieved with traditional proton therapy through the use of custom-made compensators and apertures that must be designed for each patient and changed throughout the course of therapy as tumors change shape or position. Doing away with these components will reduce the time and cost it takes to deliver proton therapy to patients.

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