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Pencil beam proton therapy will take center stage next week at PTCOG

by Gus Iversen, Editor in Chief | May 15, 2015
Rad Oncology Proton Therapy
Dr. Carl Rossi
The 54th annual conference of the Particle Therapy Co-Operative Group (PTCOG) will get underway next Monday in San Diego. Great weather notwithstanding, San Diego was a fitting choice for location because it is the home of the new state-of-the-art Scripps Proton Therapy Center. This year's event will have some tie-ins with the facility, so we spoke to Dr. Carl Rossi, the medical director of the Scripps center to find out what attendees can expect.

DOTmed News: The Scripps Proton Center seems like an ideal place to host PTCOG. Can you talk about how that decision came to be?

Dr. Carl Rossi: We made a decision in early 2012 to host the meeting at the earliest opportunity. This was largely motivated by our desire to showcase the latest in proton beam treatment technology (pencil beam scanning) which is available in all treatment rooms at Scripps.

DOTmed News: What topics do you expect will dominate conversations at the meeting?

CR: First and foremost it will be particle beam therapy, which reduces side effects from radiation much better than conventional photon/X-ray radiation. Specifically, new developments in treatment planning, biological modeling, and management of organ motions/range uncertainty are making particle beam therapy more precise and safer.

Also, more clinical data and clinical trials are emerging for various tumor sites such as head and neck, lung, gastro-intestinal tract, and breast cancer, and more pediatric cancer patients are being treated with proton therapy.

Particle beam therapy can be cost-effective: (i.e., breast APBI, head and neck), and more clinical studies are being conducted for this objective.

DOTmed News: The Scripps Center has been open for over a year now, what kind of lessons have you and your colleagues learned in that time?

CR: That answer would take about an hour...short answer is lots! Major things that we have seen are a very wide variety of challenging cases which we have been able to treat courtesy of our pencil-beam scanning technology. One challenge has been and remains increasing physician awareness of the existence of this center and its unique capabilities.

DOTmed News: What will your own involvement in PTCOG be like?

CR: I will be chairing a couple of scientific sessions as well as giving the introductory remarks.

DOTmed News: Do you have any advice for people planning to attend?

CR: Come to the meeting with an open mind, and enjoy the proceedings!

DOTmed News: What will proton therapy look like 10 years from now?

CR: Hopefully a lot like what we are doing at the Scripps Proton Therapy Center today, but with machines that are less expensive to build so the therapy will be more widely distributed.

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