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ProCure Proton Therapy Center Now Affiliated With Hackensack Meridian’s Theurer Cancer Center

Somerset-based ProCure Proton Therapy Center has established a clinical affiliation with Hackensack Meridian’s John Theurer Cancer Center in Hackensack.

Through the new affiliation, Hackensack Meridian patients now have access to all available forms of radiation therapy, according to a press release on the announcement.

Unlike conventional radiation therapy which uses X-ray particles called photons to target tumors, resulting in scattering to nearby tissues and more toxicity in the patient, proton therapy attacks the tumors with low-energy protons which release most of their enerfy upon contacvt with a tumor, according to the release.

This reduces by more than 60 percent the exposure to radiation of nearby healthy tissues, according to the release.

This is an especially important benefit when a tumor is located near critical organs or structures such as the brain, heart, or spinal cord, according to the release. As proton beam therapy delivers highly-targeted energy (pin-point radiation) with less toxicity, higher doses can be delivered to the tumor safely. Proton beam therapy is now recognized as at least as effective as conventional radiation therapy with much less toxicity, the release said.

“At Hackensack Meridian Health, we’ve long provided a wide range of highly precise radiation therapy technologies to meet our patients’ needs, treatments that target tumor tissue while sparing nearby healthy tissue as much as possible,” Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, CEO, Hackensack Meridian Health said in the release. “The affiliation with ProCure NJ will give our adult and pediatric patients direct access to every type of radiation therapy now available for people with cancer.”

Proton therapy is effective for treating certain types of cancers as well as some non-cancerous tumors, according to the release. Each patient’s doctors can help them determine the most appropriate treatment plan. Proton therapy may be an option for patients with these types of cancers:

  • Prostate cancer
  • Brain tumors
  • Certain cancers in children
  • Head and neck tumors
  • Skull- based tumors
  • Tumors near the spine
  • Lung tumors
  • Esophageal cancers
  • Breast cancers
  • Lymphomas
  • Testicular cancers

“Being able to offer the most technologically advanced method to deliver radiation treatment will allow our radiation oncologists to customize the best treatment options for our patients at John Theurer Cancer Center,” Dr. Andre Goy, the cancer center’s chairman and executive director, said in the release. “Radiation therapy is undergoing a sort of renaissance with these novel radiation modalities. Our cancer care team has exceptional expertise and extraordinary tools to help patients make the best decisions for their care.”

Proton therapy can be especially beneficial for children, who can experience more serious short- and long-term side effects from x-ray radiation than adults, according to the release. Because their bodies are still growing, children are more sensitive to healthy tissue damage caused by x-rays, the release said.

Clinical studies suggest that proton therapy reduces the risk of growth and developmental problems, as well as secondary tumors, the release said. Children receiving cancer treatment at the Children’s Cancer Institute at Hackensack University Medical Center’s Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital also have access to proton therapy at ProCure NJ.

Because of its unique technology, proton therapy is typically offered at freestanding centers like ProCure NJ, rather than being incorporated into individual hospitals.

“We’re very fortunate that our patients have access to proton therapy right here in New Jersey, only about an hour from Hackensack,” Dr. Thomas L. Bauer, Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack’s Clinical Medical Director of Oncology said in the release. “This is important when someone is battling cancer, the treatment for which can be exhausting. Receiving care close to home can offer patients comfort and convenience.”

ProCure NJ was the first to bring proton therapy to the tri-state region and offers Pencil Beam Scanning (“PBS”) — the most advanced form of proton therapy — which utilizes an ultra-narrow proton beam that deposits a radiation dose more precisely within a tumor. PBS allows physicians to precisely “paint” the tumor with radiation, minimizing radiation exposure to healthy tissue and reducing the risk of side effects.

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