An intensive three-day proton therapy immersion program at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, PA, offered in-depth insights on the practical application of proton therapy for administrators, clinicians and medical physicists from cancer centers considering a venture into proton therapy. Held on November 21 – 23, 2014, the seminar featured 20 medical professionals from Penn Medicine’s Roberts Proton Therapy Center (opened in 2010), who shared their experiences with attendees.

Medical physicist Thomas Lacornerie, who attended with Nick Reynaert, fellow researcher at the Oscar Lambert Center in Lille, France, says: “We have started a research program in collaboration with IBA that will run for a year, focused on the calculation of patient treatment planning. It was very useful for us to get insights on the practical application, and we obtained helpful technical information about safety margins and certitude in order to create potent treatment plans. An added value is the fact that UPenn has access to both photons and protons, which allows for a more accurate comparison.”

Dr. Sanford Katz, radiation oncologist at the Willis-Knighton Cancer Center in Shreveport, LA, has a proton therapy training session at UPenn scheduled at the beginning of 2015. He attended the seminar to get a head start and meet some of his instructors. “I came back from the seminar with interesting new views, which we are considering for our treatment planning and program. The marketing component was very instructive, presenting a totally different dimension than the clinical one, which nevertheless plays a crucial role in getting the treatment to the patients and vice versa. All the speakers were approachable and encouraged us to contact them in case of questions, which really gave the feeling that if you were to embark on this quite intimidating adventure, you become part of and are backed up by a community of like-minded peers.


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