Four years later, UF Proton Therapy Institute is in the top 10 for number of patients treated

August 13, 2010

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Since treating its first patient on Aug. 14, 2006, the Southeast’s only proton therapy center has delivered more than 73,000 treatments to more than 2,200 patients, making the University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute tenth worldwide in the number of patients treated.

Of the seven proton therapy centers opened in the past four years, UF Proton Therapy Institute is the only center in the top 10 for number of patients treated. Others in the top 10 have been in operation for decades. According to the Particle Therapy Co-Operative Group , since 1954, a grand total of 67,097 patients worldwide have received proton therapy.

At UF Proton Therapy Institute the daily treatment schedule is timed to optimize the number of patients, a necessity with such a rare resource. There are only seven proton therapy facilities in the U.S., 30 in the world, and only a handful are in development.

“Our ability to successfully treat cancer patients today in large numbers has a two-fold benefit,” said executive director Stuart Klein. “First, we are able to help patients beat cancers in a way that enables them a good quality of life following treatment. Second, we are gathering excellent data that may lead to improved treatments for future patients.”

With 98 percent of patients on a clinical study, UF Proton Therapy Institute is gathering important data on patient outcomes. A significant area of study is pediatrics and last year the institute entered into a joint study with St Jude Children’s Research Hospital to improve the treatment and outcomes for children under the age of 3 who suffer from rare brain tumors.

Other areas of treatment and study include cancers of the head and neck, lung, brain, central nervous system, pancreas, lymphoma, sarcoma and prostate. Last year, medical director Nancy P. Mendenhall, M.D. presented benchmark results of a prostate cancer study that shows minimal side effects for patients treated with proton therapy.

In its fifth year, the institute is looking forward to opening its fixed beam room, where it will treat eye cancers and other eye disorders.

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