Enhancing Proton Therapy Treatments with Upright Patient Positioning Via a Partnership with Leo Cancer Care 

The Hampton University Proton Cancer Institute (Hampton Proton) team is proud to announce a new partnership with Leo Cancer Care. Hampton Proton will install a cutting-edge upright patient positioning system and CT scanner into an existing fixed-beam proton therapy treatment room. Proton beam therapy has been recognized as a viable and effective treatment modality for the noninvasive elimination of many types of cancer cells.

As with many of the targeted, noninvasive cancer treatments being aggressively developed by the medical community, proton therapy aims to minimize the damage to healthy tissue and organs surrounding the infected area. According to Hampton Proton’s Chief Medical Physicist Dr. Alejandro Carabe, this new targeting method will enable the center’s oncologists to be more precise, more effective and more efficient in treating patients.

How Is Upright Patient Positioning Different from Current Targeting Methods? 

Proton beam therapy already features the ability to target beams from multiple angles. This flexibility enables specialists to choose paths that minimize healthy tissue exposure to radiation, but it’s far from perfect and doesn’t provide unlimited treatment options. Doctors are still restricted by the angles that allow optimal beam exposure to cancerous cells.

Proton arc therapy (PAT) enables the delivery of beams via the angles that can be optimized for cancer targeting, ultimately improving treatment prognosis. Patients can sit in a reproducible position for precise repeated irradiation of target tumors throughout their treatment regimen.

Humans spend most of their day upright. It’s the position in which they often feel most comfortable, empowered and better able to communicate with clinicians during their treatment.  

A vertical CT scanner will be installed at the center, which was intentionally developed as a means of imaging patients in an upright position. It consists of a ring mounted on a gantry supported by arms that can be tilted along a horizontal axis. This allows the CT ring to be adjusted along the arms via slide rails.

According to Leo Cancer Care Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Niek Schreuder, the combination of the fixed beam room with the upright system perfectly suits the combined goals of advancing research while furthering Hampton Proton’s mission of PAT clinical development.

One of Hampton Proton’s goals is to develop and test treatment methods that will help their current and future patients and cancer patients worldwide. The center is proud to be a leading player in this line of cancer treatment advancements and is excited to discover what the partnership with Leo Cancer Care will accomplish.

About the Installation 

According to Stephen Towe, the Chief Executive Officer of Leo Cancer Care, the installation project will occur in three phases. The patient positioning system and diagnostic-quality upright dual energy CT scanner will be installed as soon as possible on a non-clinical, experimental basis, as this step does not require FDA clearance or integration with the current proton therapy system.

Pursuing a phased approach to the implementation of the partnership allows Hampton Proton’s doctors to continue traditional treatments so patients won’t have their treatments delayed. In addition, this will allow for an accelerated schedule compared to what would be allowed via full clinical implementation in a single-phase approach.

Hampton Proton Executive Director MaryBeth Sullivan is enthusiastic about the partnership, saying, “We are so excited to be collaborating with Leo Cancer Care. Seated patient treatments and imaging is going to make treatments much easier for patients that are unable to lay flat. Hampton Proton will be the first on the east coast to have this ability with delivering proton therapy.”

About Marie™ 

The particle therapy patient positioning system Marie™ is named after Marie Curie, a celebrated pioneer in radiation research and, ultimately, the field of radiotherapy. More than a hundred years after her groundbreaking contributions, her memory inspires cancer treatment specialists worldwide, including at Leo Cancer Care and Hampton Proton. Combining Hampton Proton’s particle therapy solution with sophisticated upright patient position and dual-energy diagnostic quality CT scanning is a potential game-changer for many patients.

This innovative combination is only one aspect of what makes Marie™ potentially revolutionary. The hardware is coupled with software developed by Cosylab, making the platform intuitive, easy to use and fast, greatly enhancing clinical efficiency and enabling doctors to treat more patients effectively.

Exciting Times at Hampton Proton

The doctors at Hampton Proton are passionate about what they do because life is a gift, and there’s no greater pursuit than giving patients and their families more time. The team at Hampton Proton is excited about the partnership with Leo Cancer Care and looks forward to discovering the positive impact this updated treatment modality will have on patients.

Those in Virginia and the surrounding states who wish to learn more should visit Hampton Proton’s website or call 757-251-6800.