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UofL offers cancer patients new treatment option

by Gary Mans last modified Jan 11, 2010 11:53 AM

Agreement with Midwest Proton Radiotherapy Institute makes advance possible

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Cancer patients coming to the University of Louisville for treatment now have a new weapon to fight their disease. UofL has entered into an agreement with the Midwest Proton Radiotherapy Institute (MPRI), an affiliate program within the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, to provide proton therapy for patients.

UofL is the only health care provider in Kentucky to provide this treatment for its patients.

“The key to proton therapy is that radiation can be more precisely delivered to a tumor, decreasing dramatically the amount of healthy tissue that may be irradiated during treatment,” said Dr. Edward Halperin, dean of the UofL School of Medicine, professor of radiation oncology and the UofL physician who will oversee treatment of UofL patients. “We are eager to be able to provide our patients this treatment option.”

“We are excited to be able to help the University of Louisville in its efforts to provide the people of Kentucky with this advanced technology to help fight cancer,”said MPRI President and CEO Dr. Peter Johnstone. “Improving the health of people throughout the Midwest and beyond is one of our goals.”

Proton therapy is a pinpoint-accurate radiation treatment that delivers the exact dose of radiation needed to treat a tumor. Protons are charged particles that have a well-defined range of penetration. As protons enter the body, they slow down and interact with electrons, releasing their energy (also known as radiation). As each proton nears the end of its range, the dose of radiation it deposits increases sharply. Physicians can accurately determine when protons will stop within the body. Also, the proton beam can even be contoured to conform to the exact shape of the tumor, enabling greater accuracy.

Proton therapy is especially effective in treating pediatric cancers because it doesn’t damage healthy growing bone and tissues, allowing children to develop normally and reducing the risk of secondary tumors later in life.

Located on the IU Bloomington campus, MPRI is one of six proton centers in the United States and is the only facility located in the Midwest.

Gary Mans
(502) 852-7504
gary.mans@louisville.edu

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