Executive Director Message


Every New Year brings with it new ideas, new challenges and new promises. As we stand at the very beginning of a new decade, it is appropriate for us to look back at the progress made and our goals for the future.

As a pioneer in proton therapy, we have been and will continue to be at the forefront of new technology, advancements in research and life-saving clinical trials. We’ve treated over 8,500 proton patients, including more than 1,800 pediatric patients. In fact, over the past decade, we have more experience in pediatric proton therapy than anywhere else in the country and remain in the top five proton therapy centers worldwide for number of patients treated.  

With the start of patient treatments in our compact proton therapy gantry, Proteus®ONE, I’m encouraged to know that in 2020 and beyond, we will be able to treat more patients and additional types of cancer.

Our ongoing resolution and promise to you is that we will continue to help patients and future generations become cancer-free with a better quality of life.


Stuart L. Klein

Executive Director

Dr. Nancy P. Mendenhall Named UF Health Cancer Center’s 2019 High-Writer

Nancy P. Mendenhall, MD, and Jonathan D. Licht, MD, director of the UF Health Cancer Center

Congratulations to UF Health Proton Therapy Institute medical director, Nancy P. Mendenhall, MD, for receiving the UF Health Cancer Center’s 2019 High-Writer Award. The award recognizes Dr. Mendenhall’s leadership in research and cutting-edge care for her role as the lead investigator of the highest enrolling cancer-relevant clinical trials within the UF Health medical system.

As medical director, Dr. Mendenhall oversees the research department, including several clinical trials to treat more than 20 types of cancer. She and her team of clinical researchers have published over 150 articles in medical journals that report on patient outcomes, treatment techniques and efficacy of proton therapy.

Dr. Mendenhall is currently lead investigator on three clinical trials – an outcome tracking project, a trial investigating quality of life and side effects from proton therapy vs. IMRT for prostate cancer, and a prospective study comparing outcomes of proton and photon radiation in prostate cancer.

To learn more about these and other current clinical trials, click here.

Santa Joe Delivers Donation for Children

Santa made an un-seasonal stop at the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute this month to spread more Christmas cheer to last throughout the year. Inspired by the children undergoing cancer treatment and his late brother, the “original” Santa in the family, proton alum Joe McGee works throughout the Holiday season as a professional Santa in the Atlanta area. Joe generously puts aside the proceeds he earns as Santa Joe and has returned to the Institute every January since 2014 to deliver a donation for the Children’s Fund.

This year, Joe mentioned that people have caught on to his mission and have donated above and beyond to benefit what he has named, “The Santa David Children’s Fund,” in honor of his brother. The funds he and his wife, Dawn, have shared over the last five years have directly impacted hundreds of children and their families by supporting various programs, child life staff and activities that aim to make treatment easier for even the youngest of children and allow them to enjoy being kids.

Santa Joe also makes an appearance every December at the Institute to hear the children’s Christmas wishes and deliver presents. 

“If I can bring joy to one precious little one, then it’s all worth it,” said Joe.

Current patients created an original painting to gift Santa Joe for his generosity, time and talent. You can book a Santa Joe appearance in the Atlanta area by contacting him at www.facebook.com/santajoemcgee or email at santajoemcgee@gmail.com.

Research Shows Benefits of Protons

How proton therapy works

New research shows patients receiving simultaneous chemotherapy and radiation had fewer hospitalizations when they received proton therapy compared to conventional X-ray radiation therapy. What’s more, patients in the study had similar cure rates meaning that proton therapy was found to be as effective as conventional radiation with less costly side effects.

The researchers studied almost 1,500 patients with lung, brain, head and neck, gastrointestinal and gynecological cancers. Even though the patients receiving proton therapy were significantly older, they experienced two-thirds less adverse events associated with hospitalizations during the first 90-days of treatment. Proton patients were also more likely to be able to carry on work-related activities during and after their treatments.

The results of this study are significant because they support the value of proton therapy by demonstrating an improvement in quality of life and outcomes for cancer patients while providing value-based care for Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers. 

The full article can be viewed in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)


Did you know that you can help the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute provide life-saving care every time you shop? AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices and shopping features as Amazon.com. The difference is, when you shop through AmazonSmile and select Florida Proton Therapy Institute, Inc. as your charity organization, Amazon will donate 0.5 percent of the price of your eligible purchases to the Institute. 

If you already shop on Amazon or would like to contribute, please consider bookmarking smile.amazon.com and selecting us as your charity benefactor. From resources for clinical research to funding for patient support programs, every gift big or small can help us deliver the best possible outcomes and experience for our 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.