New York’s First Proton Therapy Center Begins Treating Patients

In In The News by Barbara Jacoby

From: PR Newswire

The New York Proton Center, the first proton therapy facility to open in New York State, has begun treating patients. The center’s unique consortium of partners, comprised of three leading New York City health systems—Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), Montefiore Health System and Mount Sinai Health System—began sending patients to the state-of-the-art East Harlem facility in August. Those who receive treatment at the center will have access to top-quality care from an experienced clinical team of proton therapy-trained specialists leveraging the most advanced radiation technology in the world.

The New York Proton Center is projected to treat approximately 1,400 patients annually, receiving patients from its consortium partner institutions and those throughout the New York metro area and beyond who are looking for the most effective radiation care possible. The majority of children in New York City with solid tumors will be treated at the center due to the particular effectiveness proton therapy has shown in reducing side effects for pediatric patients.

“Our goal is to deliver the highest standard of treatment possible, ensuring a seamless patient experience by handling all of the details for those under our care,” said Dr. Charles Simone, FACRO, Chief Medical Officer at the New York Proton Center. “We coordinate every patient’s care with their oncologist, tailoring treatment to the individual, and provide all patients with onsite services to improve their treatment experience, including a complimentary concierge program, nurse navigators, social services, and nutritional support. With clinical expertise from nationally regarded health systems and state-of-the-art proton beam technology, we have all the resources we need to significantly improve the quality of life for our patients.”

The most precise form of cancer radiation treatment currently available, proton therapy spares patients the side-effects experienced with traditional radiation therapy by more precisely targeting tumors and minimizing damage to surrounding organs and tissue. It has proven highly effective in treating a range of cancers, all of which will be treated at the New York Proton Center, including brain and spine tumors, head and neck tumors, breast cancer, lung and other thoracic cancers, gastrointestinal cancers, sarcomas, gynecologic cancers, prostate cancer, lymphomas and recurrent cancers.

Previously, proton therapy patients in the New York metro area were most commonly referred to out-of-state facilities. The opening of the New York Proton Center now gives patients in the New York metro area a new, more convenient option to receive proton therapy.

Nearly all patients will be given the opportunity to enroll in clinical studies as part of the New York Proton Center’s first-of-its-kind research program, which aims to further the body of clinical evidence advancing proton therapy as a critical treatment for complex tumors and difficult-to-treat cases. Unique among the 31 proton centers in operation across the U.S., the New York Proton Center will lead research efforts as an autonomous entity separate from, although guided by, its affiliate partners. Led by the center’s Director of Research, Dr. Isabelle Choi, three randomized phase III studies will begin this fall, evaluating the use of proton therapy in treating breast, prostate and head and neck cancers.

“We are thrilled that our patients now have access to one of the most advanced proton centers in the world,” said Dr. Simon Powell, Chair of Radiation Oncology at MSK. “The incredible team that came together to create this center has seen firsthand the power of proton therapy to change people’s lives, and we’re proud to begin serving patients in the New York region and beyond.”

“Our goal is to increase the number of therapeutic options for our patients, but also expand the body of research into proton therapy so we can determine who will benefit the most from this novel treatment,” said Dr. Shalom Kalnicki, FACRO, professor and chair, Radiation Oncology, Montefiore Health System and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “We look forward to partnering with our patients and their families so each person who walks through our doors gets the most advanced, personalized care possible.”

“For years, we’ve been grateful to our partners at the ProCure Center in New Jersey, but we never lost sight of the necessity for a facility of our own here in New York,” said Dr. Kenneth Rosenzweig, Chair of Radiation Oncology at Mount Sinai. “We’ve assembled an unprecedented team of 23 proton therapy-trained radiation oncologists to deliver a first-class care experience for our patients, and we’re complementing that care with a robust, practice-defining research program.”

“The beginning of patient treatment at the center marks the culmination of a nearly decade-long development process,” said Allan Freeman, the New York Proton Center’s Chief Executive Officer. “It’s an exciting moment for those of us who have dedicated ourselves to bringing this project to fruition. With the guidance and support of Memorial Sloan Kettering, Montefiore and Mount Sinai, we look forward to meeting the demand in this region for this cutting-edge treatment.” 

The center will be one of the few worldwide that is equipped with the newest and most effective proton therapy technology, provided by globally renowned Varian Medical Systems, the worldwide leader in developing multidisciplinary, integrated cancer solutions. Treatments will be enhanced by pencil beam scanning, which allows physicians to maximize radiation directly to tumors, and with volumetric imaging, which helps them precisely identify and target cancers to millimeter accuracy.

“Innovative technology is key to enhancing our ability to treat cancer,” said Kolleen Kennedy, President, Proton Solutions and Chief Growth Officer at Varian. “Just as the science of treatment is constantly changing, so is the effectiveness of the mechanisms by which we deliver care. Varian prides itself on creating industry-leading equipment, and we are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with such a premier team at the New York Proton Center.”

For additional information, please visit www.nyproton.com. High resolution images of the center are also available.

About the New York Proton Center
The New York Proton Center is creating the gold standard for proton therapy, giving new hope to patients living with cancer. In partnership with leading academic medical centers—Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Montefiore Health System, Mount Sinai Health System, and ProHEALTH as manager—the New York Proton Center brings together expert oncologists, clinical care teams, and researchers to improve cancer care and advance the clinical evidence for proton therapy.