According to James D. Cox, M.D., former head of Radiation Oncology at MD Anderson, “MD Anderson is at the forefront of the most advanced lung cancer treatments available. It is part of our mission to raise awareness of proton therapy as a potential option for people fighting for their lives. When the Proton Therapy Center was established in 2006, for example, it was the first to treat lung cancer with protons and chemotherapy.”
Globally, lung cancer is responsible for 1.3 million deaths each year. In the U.S., lung cancer is the number one cancer killer and causes more deaths than colon, breast and prostate combined. In the U.S. alone, approximately $10.3 billion is spent on lung cancer treatment annually. Unfortunately, the survival rate is just 15 percent with those who have been diagnosed with this form of cancer.
Around 15 to 20 percent of the patients with lung cancer can be treated with a combination of surgery and radiation. About 30 to 50 percent who have locally advanced lung tumors require combination treatments including chemotherapy or target therapy in addition to radiation. However, the real challenge comes into play in delivering a sufficient dose of radiation to tumors without damaging healthy nearby tissue.
Read related news about lung cancer research:
[feed url=”http://bionews-tx.com/news/news-tags/lung-cancer/feed” number=”5″ ]
The Proton Therapy Center at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is an advanced imaging guidance system that has the ability to precisely target cancer tumors in the lungs. It has the ability to deliver a powerful beam of protons with optimal accuracy that spares nearby structures such as esophagus, heart and spinal column. This also allows for a higher dose of radiation which in turn supports higher survival rates and improved quality of life.
Currently MD Anderson has the largest and most technically advanced Proton Therapy Center, however there are 11 other Proton Centers in North American and currently 13 centers are in development. The first Proton Center offers a range of treatment options including pencil beam, scanning beam and intensity-modulated proton therapy (IMPT). For patients with recurrent cancer, who have already had full doses of traditional radiation, pencil beam and IMPT may be able to limit or eliminate radiation to sensitive areas.
The Proton Center has treated around 5,000 patients to date and up to 900 patients are treated annually. This accounts for 15 percent of the total patients who have received proton therapy nationally. Cox comments, if your cancer is localized in the chest and can’t be treated surgically, you are a good candidate for proton radiation therapy.
Anne S. Tsao, M.D., associate professor in Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology, points out,”We’re just beginning to see the potential benefits of proton therapy and as we move forward it looks more and more like an excellent treatment modality. As we learn more and gather evidence of these benefits, proton therapy will likely be extended to a broader patient population”.