With the delivery of a 40-ton piece of high-tech equipment today, the Peggy and Charles Stephenson Cancer Center welcomed the newest FDA-approved proton therapy system to Oklahoma.
Mevion Medical Systems delivered the Proton Therapy System as part of the final phase of installation at the Stephenson Cancer Center at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
"We are pleased to receive this revolutionary technology and to add this innovative proton therapy system to the expansive list of cancer services available at the Stephenson Cancer Center," said OU President David L. Boren.
Proton therapy is a form of targeted radiation therapy. It uses beams of extremely fast-moving protons to treat cancer.
"Typical radiation uses X-ray beams which go through the tumor but can impact healthy tissue along the path of the beam to the tumor and beyond it, too," said Terence Herman, M.D., chair of the Radiation Oncology Department at the OU College of Medicine. "With proton therapy, we are able to focus the proton beam within the tumor, resulting in less damage to normal tissue."
The MEVION S250 Proton Therapy System is unique in that it was developed to provide the same precise, non-invasive treatment advantages and capabilities of complex, large and costly proton therapy systems but with improved reliability, and lower implementation and operational costs.
"The arrival of this superconducting synchrocyclotron signals an important milestone for the Stephenson Cancer Center and for our patients," said Robert Mannel, M.D., director of the Cancer Center. "This system adds yet another tool to the many available at a comprehensive cancer center like ours as we work to provide the highest quality of care to our patients and toward continued excellence in cancer research."
Until the recent FDA approval of the MEVION S250 proton therapy system, the broad adoption of proton therapy has been greatly limited by the enormous cost, large footprint, and technical complexity of traditional proton therapy systems. The new system brings the management and operation of proton therapy to levels similar to modern X-ray radiation therapy devices.
"Mevion is proud to bring the most advanced form of radiation treatment to Oklahoma," said Mevion Medical Systems Chief Executive Officer Joseph Jachinowski. "The installation of this groundbreaking technology at the Stephenson Cancer Center is a prime example of practical proton therapy deployment; delivering modern and advanced radiation therapy treatments in a fiscally responsible way, all within a fully integrated cancer center and with the ability to grow when patient demand requires it."
At six feet in diameter, the accelerator is large, but still it is a fraction of the size of previous proton systems in use around the country.
"An academic-based, comprehensive cancer center, like ours, is the perfect venue for this new technology," said M. Dewayne Andrews, M.D., MACP, senior vice president and provost of the OU Health Sciences Center and executive dean of the OU College of Medicine. "Through our treatment protocols and our clinical trials, it will allow us to help evaluate the best use of proton therapy in the treatment of cancer in adults and in children."
The Stephenson Cancer Center is one of only three sites nationwide to acquire the new proton therapy system.
"Clinical innovation is an integral part of the commitment to excellence in medical care, education and research at OU Medicine and the OU Health Sciences Center," said Mike Samis, chairman of the University Hospitals Authority and Trust. "The addition of this first-of-its-kind proton therapy system will enhance and expand the comprehensive list of services available to Oklahoma cancer patients of all ages."
The third and final phase of installation, setup and then testing of the MEVION S250 proton therapy system at the Stephenson Cancer Center is expected to take several months.
As one of only 35 primary sites nationally in the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group, the Stephenson Cancer Center already conducts many trials with traditional radiation therapy. The addition of the MEVION S250 Proton Therapy System will provide new opportunities to conduct research aimed at determining how and in what cancers proton therapy can be most effective.
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