Proton therapy is an advanced form of radiation therapy that kills cancer cells by using a high energy proton beam with precision targeting.
Unlike traditional X-ray treatment, when a proton beam enters the human body, its radiation effect slowly escalates, ending with a burst of treatment called the Bragg Peak. This physical property of proton beams allows the bulk of radiation dose to be centered in the tumor target rather than in normal tissues or organs.
Given a proton beams unique physical properties, the center can deliver the following clinical benefits:
(1) increased tumor dose, thus improving the chance of cure;
(2) reduced radiation damage to normal tissues and organs, thus lessening the risk of radiation-induced side effects, such as secondary cancers, cardiovascular damage, and growth disorders.
In 1946, the idea of using protons for cancer treatment was first introduced. After over half a century of clinical research, development and application, proton therapy has developed into an advanced form of radiation treatment. According to a published report by the Particle Therapy Co-Operative Group (PTCOG), there are 72 operating proton therapy centers across the world. As of November 2018, 72% of these centers are located in Americas and Europe, and the remainder are in Asia. Since the first proton therapy treatment performed in 1954, 150,000 patients have been treated with this technology.