Irving’s Texas Center For Proton Therapy Treats Its First Patients

Publication: D Healthcare Daily, Dallas

November 11, 2015

The beam being fired into your body isn’t big. Its precision can be measured in millimeters. The machine that’s generating it is hidden somewhere in this building behind walls of concrete that are up to 13 feet thick. You’re in a treatment room, lying in the middle of a three-story-tall gantry machine that looks like it could be a piece of a James Turrell installation.

In another room is a 220-ton particle accelerator called a cyclotron that whips protons at two-thirds the speed of light to create that tiny beam of concentrated radiation. To get to you, it travels about half the length of a football field, in a 143-foot line. When it’s diverted into your treatment room, if all goes according to plan, the powerful beam is directed to the tumor and misses most, if not all, of the healthy tissue around it.

This is proton-beam therapy, a highly specialized, relatively nascent method of fighting cancer that ideally limits exposing any part of the body to chemicals that doesn’t need it, causing fewer side effects and minimizing the chance of developing a secondary cancer. Traditional chemotherapy is a blast from a shotgun; this is a carefully aimed shot from a sniper. And, as of Tuesday, North Texas is no longer be America’s largest metropolitan area without access to it.

Read the story at D Healthcare Daily, Dallas.