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Tampa Bay in Florida to receive first proton therapy center

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | October 29, 2021
Rad Oncology Proton Therapy
Construction on a new proton therapy facility is scheduled to begin next year in the Tampa Bay area
The last of Florida’s major markets is now set to have its own proton therapy center in the next few years.

Tampa General Hospital has partnered with the Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Proton Therapy Partners, and Florida Urology Partners to build a free-standing center in Tampa Bay. Construction is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2022, and the completion of the project will eliminate the need for patients to travel long distances to receive doses, which can average between 30 and 40 over a set period of time. Which specific vendors will be in charge of supplying the proton therapy system and other equipment is still under discussion.

"Its specificity of delivery allows us to treat hard to reach tumors, those wrapped around critical organs, and tumors that have come back after radiation. It's also the safest form of radiation we have to offer our pediatric and young adult patients suffering from cancer,” said Dr. Richard Tuli, chief of radiation oncology in the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine at the University of South Florida and Tampa General Hospital, in a statement.

The Cancer Institute at Tampa General will manage the new center, which will provide personalized care from one access point and in a free-standing location, as opposed to in a single provider facility.

In addition to reducing complications, risk of secondary cancers and short- and long-term toxicities, proton therapy increases disease control for aggressive cancers at the base of the skull; reduces impacts on taste, nausea and painful changes to the mouth; and is able to treat a wide range of adult cancers, from breast, to head and neck, to prostate cancer, and pediatric brain and spinal tumors.

Miami Cancer Institute installed South Florida's first proton therapy center in 2018. It is equipped with pencil beam scanning (PBS) technology and three, gantry-based treatment rooms equipped with the latest generation proton therapy delivery platform. It recently became the first in Florida to gain full accreditation by the ASTRO Accreditation Program for Excellence (APEx ®) for a four-year term.

In 2019, Mayo Clinic received $233 million to build its own integrated oncology facility, which will include proton beam therapy on its Florida campus. The 140,000-square-foot facility will house a two-gantry proton system and is scheduled for a late 2023 opening.

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