UF Proton Therapy Institute achieves 100 patients per day

The UF Proton Therapy Institute at the COM Jacksonville campus. Photo by Sarah Kiewel

Efficiency and accuracy place University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute first among proton therapy facilities to treat 100 patients per day within 19 months of opening.

“This is a significant milestone for us and for our patients,” said Stuart Klein, executive director of UF Proton Therapy Institute, affiliated with the UF College of Medicine and UF Shands Cancer Center. “No other proton therapy treatment center has accomplished this goal in such a short period of time.”

Proton therapy is a precise radiation treatment that destroys cancer cells with minimal damage to surrounding healthy tissue. This results in higher cure rates, lower incidence of side effects and fewer long-term effects. Proton therapy is especially beneficial for treating cancer in children and in adult cancers located in sensitive areas like the head and neck, lung, brain, breast and prostate.

“Our goal all along is to give cancer patients the best possible chance for cure. With proton therapy, we believe we will be able to achieve excellent tumor control with fewer side effects,” said Nancy P. Mendenhall, MD, medical director of UF Proton Therapy Institute and professor and associate chair in the department of radiation oncology. “We are committed to making this new technology available to as many people as possible and are very pleased to have reached the milestone of 100 patients a day.”

Klein credits a combination of experience, technology and streamlined protocols for the successful and rapid growth. Treatment advances developed at UF Proton Therapy Institute, such as inserting gold markers in the disease site for daily positioning accuracy, facilitate patient throughput and improve precision of proton therapy. Personalized care factors into each treatment, and patient satisfaction levels for quality of treatment have remained consistent during the acceleration of cases, averaging above 95 percent excellent rating.

UF Proton Therapy Institute treated its first patient in August 2006 with one rotating gantry treatment room in operation. Within 19 months, there are three treatments rooms in use. A fourth room, with a fixed beam for treating eye cancers and other ocular diseases, is nearing completion and will be operational by the end of 2008.

UF Proton Therapy Institute is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to delivering state-of-the-art cancer treatment and strives to set new standards for treating and curing the disease. The cancer treatment facility houses both conventional radiation and proton therapy, and delivers proton therapy to 100 patients a day. For more information about UF Proton Therapy Institute, please visit www.floridaproton.org, or call toll-free 877-686-6009.