Treatment Underway at Roberts Proton Therapy Center

March 30, 2010


A CBS3 story highlights the opening of the Roberts Proton Therapy Center, where cancer patients are now being treated following a years-long planning and construction process. Along with other treatments including surgery and chemotherapy, proton therapy will be used on a variety of cancers -- including tumors of the head, neck, brain, spinal cord, liver, pancreas, esophagus and prostate -- in hopes of delivering a more precise dose of radiation with less side effects than conventional radiation. Unlike traditional photon therapy, in which an x-ray wave travels all the way through the body after radiating the target area, protons can be delivered to minimize damage to surrounding tissue: "It enters, delivers its energy and then disintegrates. A lot of it is based on high energy physics and very intense engineering," says Robert Lustig, MD, a professor of Clinical Radiation Oncology. "To us at Penn it's a huge deal." The segment also profiles a 31-year-old Penn law student undergoing treatment for a brain tumor, who says he was drawn to the idea of proton therapy because of the idea that it could reduce the cognitive side effects often associated with brain radiation... read more