Published On: Thu, Jun 16th, 2016

Proton therapy arrives at Miami Cancer Institute

A 220-ton “Cyclotron” is the cornerstone of the only proton therapy center in South Florida to offer pencil-beam scanning

image001MIAMI – Miami Cancer Institute at Baptist Health South Florida has welcomed the future of cancer care with the arrival of its 220-ton proton therapy cyclotron. As the cornerstone of the only proton therapy center in South Florida to offer pencil beam scanning—the most precise form of proton radiation treatment—the cyclotron’s milestone arrival ensures that patients in the region and across Latin America and the Caribbean will no longer need to travel far from home to access this cutting-edge treatment. Proton therapy destroys cancer cells with highly-targeted doses of radiation while avoiding healthy tissue and minimizing side effects, making it particularly effective in treating childhood cancers and adult cancers of the brain, liver and lung, as well as certain left-sided breast cancers and prostate cancers. Proton therapy treatment will be available at Miami Cancer Institute beginning in 2017.

“The arrival of the cyclotron signifies the beginning of the most sophisticated cancer treatment technology in the history of our organization,” said Brian E. Keeley, President and CEO of Baptist Health South Florida. “This historic milestone is not just one for Baptist Health to celebrate, but one for our entire community as we come together in the fight against cancer.”

“This is the most cutting-edge proton therapy technology available,” said Minesh Mehta, M.D., deputy director of the Miami Cancer Institute and chief of radiation oncology. “It uses a pencil-beam approach, allowing us to target more complicated tumors and, for most situations, further decreases radiation exposure to normal tissues in comparison to older proton techniques. That means that there is significantly less damage to healthy tissue, a decrease in side effects and less chance of a recurrence of cancer due to radiation exposure.”

The cyclotron began its 4,700-mile transatlantic journey from Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, approximately two weeks ago. After arriving into Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., a flatbed truck operated by two drivers made the overnight drive to Miami. By daylight, a 140 ton- gantry crane began to lift the cyclotron into its permanent home in Miami Cancer Institute—the $430 million, state-of-the-art new facility housed on the campus of Baptist Hospital of Miami. Miami Cancer Institute is scheduled to open in 2016.

“The moment the proton therapy unit arrives and becomes operational, the way we care for patients in South Florida changes,” said Michael J. Zinner, M.D., founding CEO & executive medical director of Miami Cancer Institute. “Miami Cancer Institute will be among the very few facilities worldwide to provide every available radiation therapy technology all in one location. Combined with our commitment to caring for patients from their diagnosis, through their complex treatment and onto survivorship, we ensure that we’re right alongside them and their families during this journey.”

In March of 2015, Baptist Health South Florida signed an agreement with IBA, the world’s leading provider of proton therapy solutions for the treatment of cancer.

“We are very pleased that Miami Cancer Institute selected IBA as their partner to bring the most advanced proton therapy to their patients in South Florida as well as the Latin America region,” added Beth Klein, president of IBA PT North America. “Our 30-plus years of experience elicits confidence in our ability to support the swift construction and installation of this equipment, which means providing faster access to the technology for their patients.”

To learn more about proton therapy at Miami Cancer Institute, click here.

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