Proton beam tumor treatment comes to University of Maryland BioPark

WASHINGTON — The Maryland Proton Treatment Center has completed its first patient treatment using proton beam therapy, a precise form of care that targets tumors while sparing surrounding tissue.

The $200 million Maryland Proton Treatment Center is part of the University of Maryland BioPark in Baltimore. It was developed in conjunction with Palo Alto, Calif.-based Varian Medical Systems and San Diego-based Advanced Particle Therapy LLC.

It is the first in the eastern United States to offer image-guided intensity-modulated proton therapy with a ProBeam system.

Varian Medical Systems says with proton therapy, beams deposit their energy within the tumor site rather than passing all the way through the patient.

A proton beam precisely paints a tumor with radiation using a pencil point beam that deposits dose layer-by-layer as it scans back and forth across the tumor.

The proton center will eventually treat as many as 1,900 patients a year and be staffed by more than 170 proton therapy oncologists, medical physicists, radiation technologists and support staff.

You can see video of pencil beam scanning here.

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