Executive Director Message

 

StuartKlein.png"I was taught that the way of progress was neither swift nor easy." - Marie Curie

These words from one of the greatest scientists in history are worth remembering in our fast-paced, convenience-seeking world. They bring to mind the progress we’ve made in the field of radiation oncology and particle therapy. The advances in cancer treatment and cure cannot seem to come fast enough, but new treatments, technology, and discoveries are being made. Our own research is collecting more and more data on patient outcomes three, five and even 10 years or more after treatment. We believe that in time, as more studies are completed and published, we will discover the full potential of proton therapy to make progress in the fight against cancer.

 

Stuart L. Klein

Executive Director

Expansion Project Milestone: Proton Therapy Equipment Is Installed

By Theresa Edwards Makrush

The UF Health Proton Therapy Institute recently reached a major milestone in the expansion of our cancer treatment capabilities. The largest piece of the new, single-room proton therapy system – known as the Proteus®ONE manufactured by IBA – was lifted and lowered into the building addition on Monday, Nov. 19.

The 100-ton device, roughly the weight of a 757 airplane, is called a gantry. It is the part of the proton therapy system that rotates around the patient to deliver the proton beam. The second largest piece was delivered and installed the week before on Tuesday, Nov. 13. It is a 55-ton cyclotron that accelerates the protons used in proton therapy.

It is part of the $39 million expansion and upgrade project started in 2016. When the equipment becomes operational next year, we will be able to treat 25 percent more patients and treat additional types of cancer.

For more on the project, watch this interview of executive director Stuart Klein on WJXT-TV’s River City Live and this story by ActionNewsJax.

Sixty Days In A Wonderful City

The Florida TImes-Union

By Theresa Edwards Makrush

Upon completion of treatment, a recent patient wrote a letter to the editor of The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville’s major daily newspaper. In it he describes how welcome and comfortable he felt in the city as a temporary resident during treatment. He heaps praise on the staff at the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute as well as on businesses and organizations that he frequented during his stay. The letter must have been well-received by the editorial board because a few weeks ago it was featured as part of their daily editorial.

It begins, “Let’s give our city a round of applause for making such a powerful and heartening impression on John Robinson, a Georgia resident who recently spent two months in Jacksonville. The best way to give full justice to Robinson’s feelings toward our city and citizens is to simply offer excerpts from the letter he mailed to the Times-Union Editorial Board.” To read more, visit the Times-Union’s website.

#WomenWhoCurie Shines Light on Women in Radiation Oncology

Women in Radiation Oncology

By Theresa Edwards Makrush

Marie Curie (b. Nov. 7, 1867 – d. July 4, 1934) is one of the most influential and important scientists in the modern age. She is best known for her discovery of radium, her pioneering research in radioactivity and for her development of technology used to treat cancer with X-rays. For her work she received many medals and awards including two Nobel Prizes, a first in the history of the honor.

It was fitting that on the anniversary of her birth, a new generation of women in radiation oncology organized by the Society of Women in Radiation Oncology set out to inspire more girls and women to pursue a career in radiation oncology. Dubbed #WomenWhoCurie Day, the social media campaign encouraged women radiation oncologists to take photos of themselves during a typical day on the job.

Our very own Julie A. Bradley, M.D., organized a photo in the building addition where the new proton therapy equipment would soon be installed. She was joined by medical director and proton pioneer Nancy P. Mendenhall, M.D., and more than a dozen others, including men who showed their support.

According to the SWRO, while 50 percent of medical students nationwide are female, only 25-30 percent of current radiation oncology residents are female.

Marie Curie – Biographical. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Media AB 2018. Thu. 6 Dec 2018. https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/physics/1903/marie-curie/biographical/

https://www.mariecurie.org.uk/who/our-history/marie-curie-the-scientist

A Quilt Becomes a Messenger

Thanksgiving quilt art book

By Theresa Edwards Makrush

A unique art project by patients is enjoying a “third life” as an online feature on floridaproton.org and our Facebook and Twitter accounts. It started out as a patchwork quilt made of paper squares and cut paper designs that was displayed near the art table in the lobby.

It was later transformed into a book, each square a page, bound with three lengths of twine. The twelve squares were then filled with thank you notes from individuals – patients and caregivers – as a Thanksgiving gift to the Institute’s staff.

Today, the pages are a graphic art feature on the website. When a website visitor rolls the computer mouse over a quilt square/page, one of the 40 heartfelt thank you messages is revealed. A few examples are:

“Thank you for every smile and greeting, for every encouraging word and smile and for all the extras that just materialize. The staff is wonderful! The facility and technology are amazing – thus the experience here has been far less stressful.”

“We have had a life-changing experience here at UF Proton in so many ways. The love and caring of the staff, the camaraderie of the patients, the friends we have made, we are so thankful for. The science, the engineering, the collective knowledge, the ability to cure cancers and safely care for all of us, we are thankful for this, too. We will miss you all. Thanks for all of you!”

To read more, click here.

Pink Envelope Project Brings Smiles

Students from Boys & Girls Club of Northeast Florida

By Theresa Edwards Makrush

A group of fifth grade students from the Boys & Girls Club of Northeast Florida stopped by with a special delivery for patients: pink envelopes with letters of encouragement and pink candies. The children each carried a pink balloon as they walked several blocks from their building to the Institute. Brad Robbert, director of patient services, welcomed them and thanked them for their act of kindness.

Parent volunteer Natasha Owens said she was inspired to coordinate the community outreach because of a friend who was being treated for breast cancer at the Institute. She said the project would teach the children about community service and they hoped to bring a smile to the patients.

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. 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.