Proton therapy on the cusp of major expansion

Posted by on Friday, May 29th, 2015


Proton therapy is in growth mode worldwide because of the rise in cancer and protons’ effectiveness in treating it.

Today there are 15 proton therapy centers in the U.S. and 57 centers worldwide with 141 total treatment rooms. By 2018, based on current plans, there will be 119 proton therapy centers around the world.

By 2019, the proton therapy market is expected to reach the $1 billion mark.

In 2012, approximately 14 million new cases of cancer were diagnosed, and there were 8.2 million cancer-related deaths. That number is expected to increase by 70 percent in the next 20 years, according to the World Health Organization.

Radiation therapy is effective in destroying most cancers but can result in serious side effects and long-term health issues due to the healthy tissue it also affects. Unlike conventional radiation, proton therapy provides a carefully timed and controlled dose of radiation directly to the tumor. This significantly reduces the levels of radiation exposure to surrounding tissue, sparing key organs and resulting in many fewer side effects—both during treatment and long-term—and less risk of secondary cancer due to radiation damage.

Today, proton therapy is available to just 1 percent of the population with about 14,500 patients treated in 2014, according to the “Proton Therapy World Market Report,” produced by MEDraysintell, a market research firm.

By 2030, the world market for proton therapy is expected to be between $3.5 billion and $6.6 billion and an anticipated 300,000-600,000 patients will receive treatment, the report said.

As a relatively new treatment modality, proton therapy’s growth has progressed slowly since the first U.S. center was opened in 1990. The equipment needed to generate and deliver protons for treatment has, historically, been expensive and cumbersome to transport and install. Although Medicare allows proton therapy for many cancer indications, many private insurers do not. And recent decades have been spent gathering data to support protons’ efficacy in treating most types of cancers.

A new generation of smaller, lighter proton therapy equipment—such as a system now in development at ProNova Solutions, Provision Healthcare’s sister company—along with improved efficiency and the ability to deliver therapy in less individual treatments will reduce the cost of proton therapy and make it more available to patients.

Additionally, mounting evidence of proton therapy’s effectiveness in curing most types of cancer and improving quality of life for cancer patients has resulted in helping the technology finally come into its own, according to MEDraysintell.

For example, one report from the nation’s oldest proton therapy center has shown that less than 1 percent of men treated with proton therapy for prostate cancer suffered from major rectal and urinary side effects.

“The absence of such risks associated with other radiation treatments or surgery is a major driving factor driving the demand for proton therapy among patients,” state another marketplace report focused on proton therapy, recently released by Kuick Research.

More proton therapy centers, in turn, will result in more clinical research, better clinician understanding and greater patient awareness of its benefits—which will only help encourage further growth.

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Scott Hamilton Proton Therapy Center Unanimously Approved for Nashville

Posted by on Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

Terry & Scott in gantry by J. Miles Cary

Scott Hamilton and Terry Douglass stand in an unfinished proton therapy treatment room in 2013 at Provision Center for Proton Therapy in Knoxville. Douglass and Hamilton are developing the Scott Hamilton Proton Therapy Center in Middle Tennessee. Photo by J.Miles Carey/News Sentinel

An application for a certificate of need was approved unanimously (9-0) today by the Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency for the development of Tennessee’s third proton therapy cancer treatment center.  Provision Trust, Inc. and the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation are planning to develop and operate the first Scott Hamilton Proton Therapy Center in the United States in the city of Franklin in Williamson County.

The $109 million not-for-profit center will be open to all qualified and properly credentialed radiation oncologists, regardless of hospital affiliation, bringing proton therapy to the citizens of Middle Tennessee.  The proton center will be developed on an 11.6-acre vacant lot near Williamson Medical Center and the existing Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Franklin.

Proton Therapy is one of the most advanced treatments available to cancer patients.  Currently, there are only 15 proton therapy centers in the United States. Provision currently owns and operates one of those 14 centers located in Knoxville.  Hamilton serves as a board member of the Provision Center for Proton Therapy.

The addition of the first Scott Hamilton Proton Therapy Center in Hamilton’s city of residence is a significant step towards a progressive new vision in cancer advocacy, awareness and treatment. The center will primarily serve 38 Middle Tennessee counties. Its secondary service area extends to West Tennessee and adjoining areas of Alabama, Mississippi and Kentucky.

Read the entire news release here.

Read coverage in the Knoxville News Sentinel here. 

Read coverage in The Tennessean here.

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Center for Biomedical Research Partners with Ackerman Cancer Center in Clinical Registry

Posted by on Friday, May 22nd, 2015


The Center for Biomedical Research is partnering with the world’s newest proton therapy center as part of a clinical meta-registry for clinical outcomes and long-term follow-up of cancer patients receiving proton therapy.

Ackerman Cancer Center has joined the registry study developed and managed by the  Center for Biomedical Research in collaboration with the Provision Center for Proton Therapy. The registry study meets all guidelines as outlined in the AHRQ’s guidelines for Registries for Evaluating Patient Outcomes.

“With the PRO 0425 study, we are collecting data that will allow us to compare information across disease sites and treatment modalities and provide a unique window into the long-term effectiveness of proton therapy,” said Marcio Fagundes, M.D., medical director for Provision Center for Proton Therapy and principal investigator.

Located in Jacksonville, Fla., Ackerman is the first private, physician-owned practice to offer proton therapy. The center began treating patients in late April.
“It is very important to me that Ackerman Cancer Center be involved in clinical research and contribute to producing evidence based data in support of proton therapy and its benefits for patients,” says Scot Ackerman, M.D., medical director of Ackerman Cancer Center.

The Center for Biomedical Research  (CBR) specializes in the management of clinical trials and has a lengthy history of managing groundbreaking clinical trials such as Herceptin, Avastin, and most recently Imbruvica of which CBR was the only clinical research site in the Southeastern United States. The Center for Biomedical Research has managed hundreds of clinical trials with a particular focus on medical oncology, proton therapy and PET imaging. CBR is regionally noted for its expertise in conducting pharmaceutical trials targeting smaller, rare cancers with specific tumor mutations. CBR and its oncology partners are often selected by major pharmaceutical sponsors and clinical research organizations (CROs) as a regional clinical research site for their most promising cancer therapeutics. The Center for Biomedical Research is a member of the National Cancer Institute’s National Clinical Trial Network (NCTN) as well as the following NCI groups;

  • NRG Oncology
  • Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG)
  • Children’s Oncology Group (COG)
  • Cancer Trials Support Unit (CTSU)

These organizations bring decades of experience conducting practice defining, multi-institutional clinical trials resulting in improved survival and quality of life for cancer patients.

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Provision & Raysearch: A look at proton therapy treatment planning

Posted by on Wednesday, May 20th, 2015



Provision Center for Proton Therapy is the star in this movie produced by RaySearch and featuring the company’s software system, RayStation. The system allows physicians create custom and adaptable treatment plans for proton therapy patients.

Provision has been utilizing RayStation for treatment planning since the center opened last year. The result? World-class cancer care.

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Nutrition notes: Chia gems of healthy goodness

Posted by on Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

Chia Seeds on a wooden spoon

Editor note: This is the first in an occasional series of blog features that will focus on health and wellness as it relates to cancer care and healthy living.

Those little black crunchy seeds seem to be everywhere, and unlike some dietary fads, there’s good reason. They really pack a nutritional punch!

Chia seeds come from a common garden plant known also as salvia and a member of the mint family. They’re a much more familiar dietary staple in South and Central American countries, but have migrated north as an up-and-coming health food product. Chia seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which carry out a variety of important functions such as lowering triglycerides, reducing inflammation and improving brain function. Chia seeds also aid digestion, they’re gluten- and grain-free for those with sensitivity, and they’re a good source of magnesium, important for a range of bodily functions from DNA synthesis to muscle performance.

One tablespoon has an impressive 5 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein plus 3 grams of that good fat and just 5 carbohydrates.

So, what to do with these tiny, crunchy gems? Just add chia. Sprinkle on your morning oatmeal, mix in a whole fruit smoothie, shake onto a salad or sandwich for lunch. Keep a bag of chia seeds in your purse or car so they’re handy when you’re eating out or on the run.

If you want to expand your options, try these easy, go-to recipes. Do you have your own favorite Chia Seed Recipe? Let us know at and we will post it on our blog!

Sprouted Chia for Salads

Add chia seeds to water, drain the water off and leave in a jar for a couple of days. Every 12 hours or so, rinse with water and pour off. In a day or two, you’ll have chia sprouts.


Homemade Energy Gel

To make this healthy version, add a couple tablespoons of chia seeds to a cup of coconut water. Let sit for 10 minutes, and you’re good to go!


Chia Pudding

2 cups coconut milk or other milk

½ cup chia seeds

2-3 Tbs. cocoa powder (optional)

1 tsp. vanilla

1 Tbsp. or more sweetener of choice (optional—I use a few drops of stevia extract)

Add ingredients to blender and blend until smooth. Will thicken in about 10 minutes in the refrigerator. Flavor variations: Substitute 1 cup strawberries for vanilla and cocoa or add cinnamon and nutmeg for a Chai chia pudding.

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