Executive Director Message

StuartKlein.pngAs the first proton therapy center in the Southeast U.S., it is logical that we would have many “firsts.” We did not stop breaking new ground when we treated our first patient. Instead we have continually pushed ahead to develop and discover ways to best use proton therapy for the benefit of our patients. We share our experiences with other proton therapy providers and cancer specialists. We rely on the collaboration of many people and organizations in our community and worldwide to achieve a greater good. Whether we are publishing patient outcomes or developing new educational tools for children, our ultimate goal is to help patients today and in future generations become cancer-free with minimal to no side effects. 

Stuart L. Klein

Executive Director

Customized app, Proton U, will aid children with cancer treatment

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By staff

UF Health Proton Therapy Institute has a new teaching tool designed especially for children who need proton therapy, an advanced type of radiation treatment for cancer. Proton U is a customized app designed to aid children before proton therapy begins by familiarizing them with what to expect during treatment.

Children are often anxious and fearful of the unknown when it comes to their medical treatment. Studies show that we can reduce anxiety and teach coping skills to children through medical play, hands-on learning and pre-treatment tours. The app is a unique way to combine children’s natural curiosity and technology to improve the medical treatment experience. 

“We have had tremendous success with our child life program over the last six years, reducing the number of children between ages 5-7 who need daily sedation for treatment by 40 percent,” said Danny Indelicato, MD, Director of Pediatric Radiotherapy, UF Health Proton Therapy Institute, and Associate Professor, UF Department of Radiation Oncology. “Thanks to Kim Todd, Child Life Specialist, and the collaboration of Flagler College and the UF Department of Biomedical Engineering, we think the app will help us further reduce the number of children needing sedation. It will also serve as an educational introduction to proton therapy for all our young children, something they can download and review even before they travel to Jacksonville. We have also created Spanish and Norwegian language versions.”

Kim had the idea to develop an app for the iPad that patients could use with her during sessions and on their own at home. She contacted her alma mater, Flagler College, to ask for help, and they agreed to take on the project as a community service. More than 30 Flagler College students designed the graphic art for the interactive game/storybook written by Kim. Students volunteered to be the recorded voices of Jefferson, the Proton U mascot, and various medical team characters introduced throughout the game.

A UF Health Proton Therapy Institute patient with Microsoft contacts connected Kim with a programmer who initiated the app’s development, and a UF engineering faculty member Stephen Arce, PhD, programmed Proton U with music and animation features that brought the app to life. “I have been programming software and games for several years in my spare time, and this is a great opportunity to help do something bigger,” said Arce. “Making apps for kids to introduce and educate them about therapy is one part of the role software can play in medicine in the future. As devices get ‘smarter,’ we will see more emphasis on interactive software to help patients learn/participate and give physicians better information. There is also an opportunity for big data sciences as we collect and analyze statistics about patient care and move toward a quality-based healthcare system.”

The app design was recognized by the Florida Campus Compact Awards, winning second place in the statewide 2015 Campus Community Partnership category. The Florida Campus Compact is a network of about 60 colleges and universities in Florida who are committed to community service that enhances students’ education, workforce readiness and civic mindedness. The app design made the shortlist for an international recognition by the Interaction Design Association in its “Empowering” category for “helping people to do things they otherwise couldn’t do.”

Flowers: an art project benefiting cancer patients at UF Health Proton Therapy Institute

By staff

Red Flowers_0.jpgFlowers is a collection of drawings, paintings and collages created by UF Health Proton Therapy Institute cancer patients and their family and friends. The collection will be on display through January at Gallery 1037, located inside Reddi-Arts, 1037 Hendricks Ave., Jacksonville.

The daily arts-and-crafts activities are part of the Institute’s Art in Medicine program. The free program enables participants to create art, regardless of experience level, and promotes feelings of well-being. Individual pieces in the Flowers exhibit are for sale. Your purchase of a unique artwork will help fund the Art in Medicine program, bringing comfort and cheer to cancer patients.

Blue Flowers_0.jpgA special reception for patients, caregivers, proton alumni and the public will take place at the gallery on January 26, 5-7 p.m.

The reception will feature

  • complimentary refreshments
  • handcrafted flower corsages available for a suggested donation of $5 each
  • framed art created by children and adults with cancer available for $100 each

All proceeds benefit the Art in Medicine program at UF Health Proton Therapy Institute.

Ten Years. One Mission. Cancer Free.

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By staff

We’ve had a lot of “firsts” in our first decade. Here are a few worth noting that took place in January:

January 2007 – Began treating cancers of the central nervous system, brain and chordomas.

  • Performed the 1000th proton therapy treatment less than six months after opening
  • Opened the second gantry treatment room

January 2012 – Published an article in the journal Cancer that reported excellent quality of life for men 60 years old and younger treated with protons for prostate cancer. Erectile Function, Incontinence, and Other Quality of Life Outcomes Following Proton Therapy for Prostate Cancer in Men 60 Years Old and Younger

January 2012 – Published an article in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics reporting that patients treated with protons for prostate cancer had excellent tumor control and minimal side effects.

Mendenhall NP, Li Z, Hoppe BS, Marcus RB Jr, Mendenhall WM, Nichols RC, Morris CG, Williams CR, Costa J, Henderson R. Early outcomes from three prospective trials of image-guided proton therapy for prostate cancer. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2012 Jan 1;82(1):213-21. Epub 2010 Nov 17. PubMed PMID: 21093164.

January 2013Dedicated Aud’s Chime

January 2016Announced expansion and upgrade plans

Proton alum and her family share their gratitude, gifts

By staff

The Believe Foundation_0.jpgLast month a young patient alum named Carolina and her family stopped by the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute with a surprise. They brought a very generous donation of 27 ($25) Wal-mart gift cards, 7 ($50) Wal-mart gift cards and toys that filled the entire toy closet at UF Health Proton Therapy Institute. The donation was made possible through a foundation the family has started called The Believe Foundation.

The family has a Facebook page and described the foundation in the following post:

One day in December, 2014, I came home to Carolina and Nicole counting the money in their piggy banks. They each counted out $50 and wanted to buy presents for other children who would be in the hospital during Christmas. Michael agreed to put in $50, and Tabitha and I matched their money. We shared the story on Facebook and almost $3,000 was raised in five days. Little did we know, this small act of compassion by my kids would be the seed that would blossom into a God calling. 

Today, this journey has transitioned into a journey that is centered on others. Hearing that your child has cancer can attempt to take you to a very dark place of anger and bitterness. We have the Hope of Jesus, but not every family knows that Hope. We want to share the light and love of Jesus Christ to those in need. Believe Team Carolina has slowly grown into The Believe Foundation. 

The immediate goal of the foundation is to provide gifts for children that will spend the Christmas holiday in Wolfson Children’s Hospital, receiving treatment at the UF Proton Health Proton Therapy Institute or those that will visit the oncology clinic at Nemours.

We thank Carolina and her family for the tremendous gifts that will bring comfort and joy to so many children.

DONNA Health Expo

By staff

Donna Booth 2016_0.jpgThe 26.2 with DONNA: The National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer has become a staple of the annual events calendar in Jacksonville for runners and spectators alike. Held each February in Jacksonville Beach since 2008, the marathon is dedicated to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer treatment and research.

Part of the marathon weekend is a health and fitness event, the DONNA Expo, at the Prime Osborn Convention Center, 1000 Water St., Jacksonville. The free expo is February 10 and 11 and includes breast cancer health information booths, fitness and running attire vendors, food and nutrition displays and more. UF Health Proton Therapy Institute will have a booth to distribute information about proton therapy for breast cancer. It is a great opportunity to spread the word about proton therapy and to support the cause to finish breast cancer.

About This Newsletter

The Precision Newsletter is an electronic-only publication that is distributed by email. Each issue is sent monthly to patients, alumni patients and friends of the University of Florida Health Proton Therapy Institute. As the official newsletter of the Institute, the content is compiled and prepared by our communications representative and approved by the editor Stuart Klein, executive director of UF Health Proton Therapy Institute. Special bulletin newsletters may occasionally be prepared when timely topics and new developments in proton therapy occur.  We will make every effort to remove your name from the list. If you would like to send a Letter to the Editor, please click here.

 

Keep In Touch

It is easy to stay in touch with us online at floridaproton.org . Look at the top right corner of the homepage for Facebook , Twitter and YouTube icons, click and join us in the social media conversation. Also on the right side of the homepage there is a button for VTOC Patient Portal . Click here to open your secure account, view your records, complete clinical trial questionnaires and communicate with your nurse case manager.

 

Knowing how you are feeling during and after treatment is essential to providing you the best care possible and contributes to the care of future patients.