by Gus Iversen
, Editor in Chief | March 15, 2021
From the March 2021 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
With the National Association for Proton Therapy (NAPT) annual meeting right around the corner, HealthCare Business News checked in with Dr. Isabelle Choi who, in addition to being an NAPT board member and the chair of the association’s newly formed physician advisory committee, is also a practicing radiation oncologist at New York Proton Center.
HCB News: How did you first become interested in proton therapy and the NAPT?
Dr. Isabelle Choi:
I first learned about proton therapy during my radiation oncology training. I had a young patient who had significant toxicity from photon treatment, and when I heard that proton therapy could be a way to significantly reduce side effects for my patients, I became very interested in this advanced modality. As I progressed in my career and encountered challenges in providing my patients, who would genuinely benefit from its tissue sparing capabilities, with access to proton therapy, I wanted to learn more about how I could change the reimbursement climate and how to increase access to proton therapy for my patients, which led to my involvement in NAPT.
HCB News: You've recently been appointed the chair of the NAPT's Physician Advisory Committee. From a top-level perspective, what are the committee's goals?
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I’m excited to lead these expert proton therapy physicians. The group is charged with helping NAPT expand proton therapy insurance coverage guidelines, support clinical trials, and develop proton therapy disease-specific research summaries for patients and providers to expand the ability for patients to receive this advanced modality. With these key leaders, we are well-positioned to support NAPT's mission to increase patient access to proton therapy.
HCB News: Are healthcare providers and oncologists outside of leading academic hospitals aware of proton therapy's value?
While most radiation and medical oncologists are aware of proton therapy, most likely do not know of its true potential benefits and which patients might be best treated with proton therapy. A goal of NAPT is to increase healthcare practitioners' awareness of the clinical benefits of proton therapy. I, with many of the other experts on NAPT’s Physician Advisory Committee will be presenting new research and giving invited lectures on proton therapy at the annual meetings for NAPT, as well as the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), American College of Radiation Oncology (ACRO), Particle Therapy Co-Operative Group (PTCOG), and others. As more clinical research demonstrates the value of proton therapy, the cancer community will become more aware of the significant value of proton therapy.