The opening of Scripps Proton Therapy Center makes it the first proton center in the United States to treat patients exclusively with “pencil-beam scanning,” the most precise form of proton radiation therapy, in every treatment room, Scripps said.
“Pencil-beam scanning enables doctors to treat larger and more complicated tumors, while sparing more normal tissue and producing about one-tenth as many carcinogenic neutrons compared to traditional proton delivery,” said Dr. Carl Rossi, the center’s medical director. “Using pencil beam to treat tumors is like using a very fine paint brush to apply the radiation, whereas earlier proton technology is more like using a can of spray paint.”
According to Scripps, the center is the nation’s 15th proton facility. When fully operational, the $220 million center will have the capacity to treat up to 2,400 patients annually. The facility is currently treating patients in select rooms, and it projects clinical use of all treatment rooms in 2014. The center offers on-site access to the sophisticated imaging technology needed for accurate tumor targeting, including CT and PET-CT scanners and an MRI machine, according to Scripps.
Scripps Health provides the center’s clinical management, and Scripps Clinic oversees the medical services. Advanced Particle Therapy is the center’s developer and owner.