Center Will Offer Cutting-Edge Treatment to Patients in the Baltimore-Washington Area
In October 2015, about a year from now, the Maryland Proton Treatment Center (MPTC) will open its doors to patients. The center will provide an innovative, precise approach to cancer, which targets tumors while minimizing harm to surrounding tissues.
The state-of-the-art center will offer hope to patients who have no other options – patients such as Daryl Marciszewski, a 39-year-old Baltimore City firefighter (now inspector with the fire marshal’s office) with a rare form of cancer affecting the base of his skull. In 2012, his doctors told him there was nothing to be done for his tumor, because it was too close to his brain. He went to specialists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM), who recommended that he get proton treatment at a facility in Chicago. The technique uses protons traveling at about two-thirds the speed of light to precisely deliver beams of radiation to the tumor. Marciszewski received the treatment, and it worked. He is back at work, and spends his free time with his wife and three young children.
Marciszewski, along with a group of other cancer survivors, attended a special countdown event to speak, and to ring a bell, as many cancer patients do when they conclude treatment.
"Where there is a will, there is a way," said Marciszewski, who has a never give up attitude. Speaking at the event, Marciszewski expressed gratitude to the University of Maryland team that has been by his side throughout his decade long battle. He thanked his neurosurgeon Dr. Howard Eisenberg and Dr. Mehta for working on a plan that included proton therapy. "It's unbelievable," said Marciszewski. "I'm extremely blessed."
“This is the next-generation improvement in radiation oncology,” says William F. Regine, MD, Professor and Isadore & Fannie Schneider Foxman Endowed Chair in Radiation Oncology at the UM SOM. “It allows us the unprecedented ability to deliver a targeted dose of lifesaving radiation therapy directly to the tumor while minimizing radiation to the healthy tissue. This technology is a powerful new addition to our toolbox for fighting cancer.”
“The world of cancer is being revolutionized today by precision and targeting,” said Minesh Mehta, MBChB, FASTRO, Medical Director of the MPTC and Professor of Radiation Oncology. “In the world of radiation therapy, we are getting atomic precision delivering protons.”
"We are delighted to be the home of the first proton treatment center in the Baltimore-Washington area and just the 15th among the entire United States of America," said Dean E. Albert Reece MD, PhD, MBA, Vice President for Medical Affairs at the University of Maryland, and John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.More about the Maryland Proton Treatment Center
When it opens in 2015 at the University of Maryland BioPark on the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus, the Maryland Proton Treatment Center will provide one of the newest and highly precise forms of radiation therapy available, pencil beam scanning (PBS), which targets tumors while significantly decreasing radiation doses to healthy tissue. This technique can precisely direct radiation to the most difficult-to-reach tumors.
The new facility will be the first center on the East Coast to offer PBS as the sole and comprehensive modality of proton treatment in all five of its treatment rooms. The treatment works very well for many kinds of tumors, including those found in the brain, esophagus, lung, head and neck, prostate, liver, spinal cord and gastrointestinal system. It is also an important option for children with cancer and is expected to become an important option for some types of breast cancer. While the vast majority of cancer patients are well served with today’s state-of-the-art radiation therapy technology, up to 30 percent of these patients are expected to have a greater benefit with use of this new form of targeted proton beam therapy.
During treatment, a tiny pencil-sized spot of protons is used to target the tumor point by point and layer by layer. Protons can be aimed very precisely and, unlike conventional forms of radiation treatment, significantly minimize the radiation dose to nearby healthy tissue, reducing side effects and reducing recovery time.
Located at the University of Maryland BioPark, the 110,000 square-foot, $200 million center is expected to treat about 2,000 patients a year. It will be one of less than 15 proton therapy centers in the country, and the first in this area.