Oncology Times has just completed a five-part series of what appear to be objective and impartial articles on proton beam radiation therapy (PBRT) — as a form of treatment for many types of cancer, not just prostate cancer. However, the role of prostate cancer in the decision to fund recently developed and new PBRT centers is clearly significant.
Here is a set of titles of the articles (in the order they were published) with direct links to each one:
- Part 1: Proton Beam Radiation Therapy: The “Chicken & Egg” Dilemma (March 25, 2010)
- Part 2: Proton Beam Radiation Therapy: The “Chicken & Egg’” Dilemma (April 10, 2010)
- Part 3: Proton Beam Radiation Therapy: Balancing Evidence-Based Use with the Bottom Line (April 25, 2010)
- Part 4: Proton Beam Radiation Therapy: Balancing Evidence-Based Use with the Bottom Line (May 10, 2010)
- Part 5: Proton Beam Radiation Therapy: The Case of Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute (May 25, 2010)
There are now seven fully operational PBRT centers in the US:
- The Francis H. Burr Proton Center, associated with Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, in Boston, Massachusetts
- The James M. Slater, MD, Proton Treatment and Research Center, associated with the Loma Linda University Medical Center, in Loma Linda, California
- The Roberts Proton Therapy Center, associated with the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- The Proton Therapy Center, associated with the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, in Houston, Texas
- The Midwest Proton Radiotherapy Institute, associate with Indiana University, in Bloomington, Indiana
- The University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute, associated with the University of Florida, in Jacksonville, Florida
- The ProCure Proton Therapy Center, associated with the Integris Cancer Institute, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
An eighth center — the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute, in Hampton, Virginia — is scheduled to open some time later this year. An additional center is currently planned for Somerset, New Jersey, and is scheduled to be opening in 2012. Other centers are planned or are under discussion, but economic realities appear to have delayed decisions and/or actual plans to proceed. In at least a couple of cases, plans to develop such centers have been canceled.
It is disappointing that at least one major proton beam center and representatives of other proposed centers appear to have been unwilling to speak in any depth to Oncology Times for this series of articles. It is clear that there are issues here that go way beyond the desire to provide the best possible therapy to patients who need such therapy.
The “New” Prostate Cancer InfoLink congratulates Oncology Times and its two reporters for their care and hard work in putting together this series of investigative reports.