Proton therapy Medical facts
Proton therapy is considered the most advanced form
of radiation therapy available today
In developed markets, around 35% of cancer cases (> 60% in the US) require radiation treatment alone or in combination with other treatments, such as surgery or chemotherapy. Minimizing the overall exposure of healthy tissues has always been an important aspect of radiation therapy. This is where proton therapy offers a real advantage compared to other forms of radiation treatment.
Benefits of the Bragg peak
Proton therapy is an advanced form of radiation therapy that uses a high-energy proton beam for cancer treatment. In contrast to conventional photon based radiation therapy, proton beam delivers the majority of their destructive energy within a small range inside the tumor, known as the Bragg peak, thereby reducing adverse effects to adjacent healthy tissues. In IBA-equipped proton therapy centers, cyclotrons accelerate protons to an extremely high speed, generating a controlled beam, which is delivered very precisely in the treatment rooms, through a nozzle, to the targeted tumor.
With proton therapy, there is significant potential to reduce side effects, improve overall outcomes in cancer treatment and offer a better quality of life to patients.
Precise dose delivery
Technological advances in conventional external beam radiation therapy have led to a new approach: Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT). To reach the right amount of dose in the target, IMRT multiplies the number of beam incidences needed and spreads unnecessary dose in the surrounding healthy tissue. For the patient, this means receiving a much higher integral dose during IMRT treatment compared to a similar treatment in proton therapy. With proton therapy, you avoid depositing unnecessary dose in surrounding healthy tissues because the physics of protons enables the physician to deliver highly conformal treatments. Proton therapy delivers high-energy radiation doses directly to the tumor.
A growing treatment option
Proton therapy is used today to treat many cancers and is particularly appropriate in situations where treatment options are limited and conventional radiotherapy presents unacceptable risks to patients.
These situations include eye and brain cancers, head and neck cancers, prostate, liver, lung, breast, and pediatric cancers, as well as other tumors in close proximity to one or more critical structures. While proton therapy today represents less than 1% of radiotherapy treatments, based on experts’ reports and the experience of large academic centers, at least 20% of patients would benefit from proton therapy.
Increasing number of studies supporting the clinical advantages of proton therapy
Awareness of proton therapy within the medical community is growing, just as the number of patients treated with proton therapy grows. The interest is reflected in the increasing amount of clinical data that is becoming available. Last year more than 560 scientific papers were published.
Useful documents, white papers and publications
Learn more about the benefits of proton therapy and find the latest studies in this IBA white paper.
Did you know?
The number of patients treated per year with proton therapy will increase from 16.200 in 2015 to 300.000 in 2030
(Source: MEDRays Intell Proton Therapy World Market Report 2015)