Laser Focus for Texas Center for Proton Therapy

Publication: NTX Magazine, Dallas-Fort Worth

July 24, 2017

Proton therapy has shown benefit for the treatment of cancers and tumors of the brain, head and neck, lung, breast, lymphoma, liver and prostate. It is also particularly beneficial in treating children because it can minimize early and long-term side effects to smaller bodies that are still growing and developing.

"Our center combines some of the most advanced technology available with a world-class team of expert physicians, physicists and healthcare providers. Our patients benefit from our advanced medical technology as well as our advanced medical expertise," Andrew Lee, M.D., M.P.H., medical director of Texas Center for Proton Therapy, said.

Dr. Lee saw how proton therapy could positively impact lives when he served patients at the proton center at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. At the time, Dallas-Fort Worth was the largest metropolitan area without a proton therapy center. Dr. Lee and the team at Texas Center for Proton Therapy recently opened a 63,000-square-foot facility in Irving that can treat up to 100 patients a day. "We are giving patients in North Texas access to one of the most important tools in cancer treatment," Dr. Lee said.

And it's not just North Texans that can benefit. Patients have come from as far away as Europe, South America, Asia and the Middle East. With Dallas-Fort Worth's central location and easy access to a major international airport, Texas Center for Proton Therapy has become a healthcare destination for those needing care from around the world.

"Some of our international patients have family or friends living in the DFW area. However, for those patients without a local connection, we provide a full range of patient support services to assist with the logistics of care and travel," Dr. Lee said. "While traveling away from home can be a daunting proposition for any patient, we make every effort to provide a caring and supportive experience. The intrinsic infrastructure and international flavor of DFW are also instrumental to this experience."

Proton therapy helps cancer patients by not only treating their tumor but also by minimizing exposure to surrounding normal tissues, delivering targeted radiation to tumors with extraordinary precision, guided by some of the world's most accurate imaging technology located on-site at the center. This can lead to better tumor control but with fewer side effects. The overall treatment experience may be less physically challenging to patients and they may have fewer side effects than with conventional X-ray therapy, Dr. Lee said. In fact, many patients continue to work through their proton treatment.

Today, there are 15 proton therapy centers opening in the U.S., but some of the most advanced technology can be found at Texas Center for Proton Therapy, the second and newest in the state.