Web review – Next generation proton therapy in Texas

Intensity modulated proton therapy treatment (IMPT) is now available at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. This new technology further refines radiation therapy options for complicated head and neck tumors.

Selected for its ability to target tumors precisely while minimizing damage to healthy surrounding tissue, proton therapy has rapidly gained a foothold as an option for radiation treatment in the past decade. The Proton Therapy Center at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, opened in 2006, is now one of 10 proton therapy centers currently operating in the United States. The center treats over 800 patients of all ages every year.

It continues to innovate the field by being the first and only center in North America to treat patients with the most advanced form of proton therapy, called intensity modulated proton therapy with multi-field optimization (IMPT).

IMPT is best used to deliver a potent and precise dose of protons to the most complicated tumors. It relies on complex treatment planning systems and an intricate network of magnets to focus and aim a narrow proton beam and essentially “paint” the radiation dose onto the tumor layer by layer.

“In under a decade, MD Anderson has established a full spectrum of proton therapy techniques, providing a range of options from which to select the best radiation treatment matched to a patient’s tumor,” says Steven J. Frank, M.D., associate professor in MD Anderson’s Department of Radiation Oncology and director of Advanced Technologies at the Proton Therapy Center. “With IMPT, radiation oncologists can offer the precision and tissue-sparing capabilities of proton therapy to patients with the most complicated tumors of the head and neck.”