November 7th, 2019
Just three years after opening its doors, the Maryland Proton Treatment Center (MPTC) has reached a major milestone by treating its 2,000th patient. MPTC is the first proton treatment center to open in the District/Maryland/Virginia region. It is also the only treatment center in the world that offers both proton and thermal therapies in one facility.
The 2,000th patient, Corinne Hanooman of Largo, Florida, is being treated at MPTC for a recurrent gynecological cancer. A family member recommended she go to MPTC in Baltimore, MD to find out if proton therapy and other unique services provided at the center could help her. Proton therapy is an advanced radiation technique that targets tumors with pinpoint accuracy while limiting radiation exposure to healthy tissues.
“Ms. Hanooman is an ideal candidate for proton therapy because of the recurrent nature of her cancer that requires high dose radiation. Protons can better spare healthy tissues, which can minimize side effects. This is especially important when targeting radiation to the pelvic area where the tumor is in close proximity to bowel, bladder and bones,” says Ms. Hanooman’s treating physician, Pranshu Mohindra, MD, MBBS, DABR, Associate Professor of radiation oncology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM).
In addition to protons, Dr. Mohindra also recommended deep-tissue external thermal therapy for Ms. Hanooman, which works by heating the tumor tissue to moderate temperatures (between 104-110 degrees Fahrenheit). This improves the tumor blood supply, bringing more oxygen into the tumor, which makes cancer cells more responsive to radiation therapy. This is especially helpful for recurrent tumors like Ms. Hanooman’s or resistant tumors like sarcoma.
The thermal therapy program at MPTC is led by Zeljko Vujaskovic, MD, PhD, Professor of radiation oncology and director of the division of translational radiation sciences in the department of radiation oncology at UM SOM. Dr. Vujaskovic is a world-renowned authority on thermal therapy with more than 20 years of experience in the field.
At MPTC, experienced physicians have successfully treated tumors in the base of skull, brain, breast, esophagus, eyes, head and neck, liver, lung, pancreas, prostate, gynecological cancers, spine, as well as lymphomas. The center also treats patients who are in need of a second course of radiation (reirradiation), offering hope when other forms of treatment may no longer be an option. Twenty-percent of patients at MPTC are reirradiation cases. While the majority of patients who choose MPTC come from District/Maryland/Virginia region, the experience and expertise of their physicians has brought patients from all over the world.
“The motivation behind opening our center was to give people in this region access to cutting-edge technology to fight cancer and it was ten years in the making,” says William F. Regine, MD, FACR, FACRO, executive director of MPTC and the Isadore & Fannie Schneider Foxman Endowed Chair and Professor of the department of radiation oncology at UM SOM. “Looking now at how many patients we have helped since we treated our first patient in February 2016, I am in awe of our experience with this remarkable technology that is bringing new hope to cancer patients.”
“I wanted to come here because my family recommended it. When I learned about the benefits of using proton therapy and thermal therapy together, I was sure that this was the right place for me,” says Ms. Hanooman.
Ms. Hanooman expects to finish treatment in mid-November and return home to Florida in time for the holidays. She looks forward to watching her daughter in marching band and trying new foods together–especially Ethiopian food!
About the Maryland Proton Treatment Center
The Maryland Proton Treatment Center is the first health care organization to offer proton therapy in the Baltimore/Washington area. On February 23, 2016 MPTC opened its doors to provide a highly advanced and precise form of radiation therapy for adult and pediatric cancer patients that can increase the radiation dose to a tumor while decreasing the dose to healthy, surrounding tissues. MPTC is affiliated with the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center (UMGCCC), an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center and is located in the UM BioPark. The center has treated more than 2000 patients from the surrounding states and the globe. For more information on MPTC, proton therapy and treatable cancer/disease sites visit mdproton.com.