North Texas’ First Proton Cancer Center Opens in Irving

Publication: Irving Rambler, Irving

October 20, 2015

With its innovative cancer treatment and patient-centered approach, The Texas Center for Proton Therapy recently opened at 1501 West Royal Lane in Irving. The $111 million facility, one of 15 proton therapy centers in the United States, will begin treating patients by mid-November.

“The DFW metroplex was the largest metropolitan area in the United States without a proton therapy center,” said Dr. Andrew Lee, medical director of Texas Center for Proton Therapy. “We are pleased to bring this life-saving cancer treatment to North Texas.”

The 63,000 square foot center with its three treatment rooms will be able to treat more than 100 patients per day making Irving a major cancer treatment destination.

With its proximity to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Dallas Love Field as well as easy access to both Dallas and Fort Worth, Irving was selected as home to the Center for Proton Therapy.

“Irving is a perfect location for the center for many reasons,” Lee said. “It is conveniently located, and there are hotels and restaurants close by, but most importantly the city of Irving as a community is a huge support system for our patients. Our patients will be displaced for several weeks while in treatment and will need the support of a strong community like Irving.”

Proton therapy or proton beam therapy is a precise radiation therapy that uses beams of protons to irradiate diseased tissue, most often in the treatment of cancer. It is especially effective in treating cancers in sensitive areas and for children whose bodies are still growing.

In proton beam therapy, a particle accelerator is used to target a tumor with a beam of protons. The charged particles damage the DNA of cells killing them or stopping their reproduction.

“With proton beam therapy, we conform the beam to the shape of the tumor disrupting the DNA of cancerous cells,” Lee said. “The precision and accuracy of the beam reduce the amount of excess radiation minimizing the exposure of healthy tissue.”

The cyclotron, a magnet-packed particle accelerator, creates a proton beam that travels at two-thirds the speed of light through a 143 foot beamline which focuses and essentially steers the beam.

“It’s a 220 ton machine connected to a gantry with a height of 30 feet, and it rotates 360 degrees to enable precise positioning of the beams onto the tumor,” Lee said. “This is the largest pencil beam proton center in the state of Texas and its neighboring states.”

Proton therapy has been used in the treatment of tumors for more than 60 years, and the physicians and staff at the center have more than 70 years of combined experience with Dr. Lee as a renowned expert in this field.

Dr. Lee is the first physician in Texas to treat patients with proton beam therapy while at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He began using conventional proton therapy in 2006 and then was the first to use the pencil beam in 2008.

Proton beam treatment sessions last approximately 15-40 minutes depending on the individual patient’s protocol with each beam taking one to three minutes. Patients may follow treatments with a number of services at the center such as nutrition classes or yoga or a visit to the healing garden.

“The Texas Center for Proton Therapy is a state of the art facility with cutting edge technology as well as a patient-centered approach to overall care,” Lee said. “It is just a tremendous center and the city of Irving provides the perfect infrastructure for our facility and patients.”

Read this story at Irving Rambler, Irving.