by Gus Iversen
, Editor in Chief | April 10, 2023
The National Association for Proton Therapy (NAPT) is getting ready for its annual National Proton Conference, taking place May 6 through 9 in Salt Lake City. In preparation for the event, HealthCare Business News sat down with Jennifer Maggiore, the organization’s executive director, as well as Dr. Elizabeth Nichols, a board-certified radiation oncologist at the Maryland Proton Treatment Center.
HCB News: Can you tell us about your background with proton therapy and the NAPT?
I worked for many years at an outpatient cancer center that incorporated proton therapy into their cancer program in 2015. I managed their patient services department. I have always been passionate about supporting patients as they navigated through their cancer journey. A cancer diagnosis is overwhelming, and it is vital to provide support and resources to cancer patients and their caregivers. I joined the NAPT Board in 2017 to support their mission to increase patient access to proton therapy. I become the Executive Director in 2019 and was privileged to be trusted by the Board of Advisors and member centers as the community navigated the early days of the pandemic and initiated crucial advocacy efforts surrounding reimbursement.
Dr. Elizabeth Nichols:
I am a board-certified radiation oncologist and have been in practice for 10 years with the University of Maryland Department of Radiation Oncology located in Baltimore. I helped design and open our proton center, the Maryland Proton Treatment Center and have been practicing there since we opened in 2016. My clinical and research efforts focus on women's cancers (breast and gyn). I have a passion for the use of proton therapy in these diseases especially for the treatment of young women. I love being an oncologist and being able to offer patients state of the art therapy that not only can cure their cancer but also give the least long term side effects possible!
Our proton center has been a long-time member of NAPT. I have recently become a Board member which I am very excited about. I hope to continue to advocate for the use of proton therapy in patients with cancer and contribute to the growing literature that shows the benefits of proton therapy. I also want to continue to improve equitable access to this type of therapy for all patients.
HCB News: Looking back over the previous couple years, what have been some of the industry milestones for proton therapy?
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in cancer centers that offer proton therapy in the US and around the world, increasing the number of patients that can benefit from this treatment.