News | Proton Therapy | February 04, 2016

University of Maryland School of Medicine Announces New Maryland Proton Alliance

Collaboration integrates proton therapy research, education and clinical care at new Maryland Proton Therapy Center

University of Maryland School of Medicine, UM SOM, Maryland Proton Alliance, MPA, proton therapy

February 4, 2016 — The University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM) announced the establishment of the Maryland Proton Alliance (MPA), a new organizational framework for proton therapy that may serve as a national model for patient-centered cancer care.

The Alliance will be led by Zeljko Vujaskovic, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology and head of the department’s Division of Translational Radiation Sciences. Vujaskovic succeeds Minesh Mehta, MBChB, who served as medical director of the Maryland Proton Treatment Center (MPTC) during its development from 2012 to 2015.

William F. Regine, MD, FACR, FACRO, Chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM), along with UM SOM Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, today announced the establishment of the Maryland Proton Alliance (MPA), a new organizational framework for proton therapy at UM SOM that may serve as a national model for patient-centered cancer care.

MPA is the result of long-term collaborative planning designed to make innovative research activities integral to the infrastructure of the new $200 million, 110,000-square-foot MPTC, which is now open and scheduled to begin treating patients in February. As part of its mission, the MPA brings together the multi-platform global research and education programs of the UM SOM with the clinical services of the MPTC — combining the resources of UM SOM and industry partner Advanced Particle Therapy LLC, with support from federal, industry, regional and global stakeholders.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity,” said Vujaskovic. “As the only proton treatment center in the Baltimore–Washington region, we are in a unique position to partner with a wide range of public and private researchers, many of whom are only beginning to assess the potential value of this technology and are eager to work with a premiere academic institution in these efforts.”

Over his career, Vujaskovic has developed diverse extramural partnerships and received funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), NASA and others. He is an internationally recognized investigator in radiation effects on normal and tumor tissue. He has clinical expertise in prostate and bladder cancer treatment and is currently a leader in the innovative use of thermal therapy (hyperthermia) for various malignancies. Under his direction, the Division of Translational Research Sciences has become a leader in collaborative studies investigating medical countermeasures to radiation.

The MPA will build on an existing strong track record of research relationships with major academic centers, industry and the federal government to create new programs exploring the benefits of protons in treating cancer. As a result, Vujaskovic anticipates that this unique alliance will increase research funding, as well as create new research positions and educational opportunities for graduate students and other trainees.

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