William F. Regine, MD, FACR, FACRO, right, is executive director of the Maryland Proton Treatment Center, where WellSpan radiation oncologists will work alongside University of Maryland School of Medicine radiation oncology faculty, such as Regine, to treat cancer patients from southcentral Pennsylvania at the new $200 million facility in Baltimore.
New collaboration boosts regional expertise and broadens patient access to proton therapy
The Maryland Proton Treatment Center (MPTC) at the University of Maryland has signed a collaboration agreement with WellSpan Health that will enable WellSpan radiation oncologists to work alongside University of Maryland School of Medicine radiation oncology faculty treating cancer patients at the new $200 million facility in Baltimore.
WellSpan Health is an integrated health system that includes six hospitals and a regional network of five cancer centers across Adams, York, Lancaster and Lebanon counties in southern Pennsylvania. The new agreement with the MPTC will benefit patients of all of WellSpan’s cancer centers as well as the cancer program of Franklin County-based Summit Health, with which WellSpan has a collaborative relationship.
Under the terms of the agreement, WellSpan physicians will be granted adjunct faculty appointments at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and privileges to treat patients at MPTC.
“We have always envisioned the Maryland Proton Treatment Center as a regional resource, with healthcare providers from around the area joining together to collaborate, not only for the benefit of individual patients, but also to advance the field of radiation oncology,” says William F. Regine, MD, FACR, FACRO, MPTC’s executive director. Dr. Regine is also the Isadore & Fannie Schneider Foxman Endowed Chair and professor of radiation oncology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM).
Dr. Regine noted that WellSpan and UM SOM doctors will collaborate in the innovative research taking place at the new facility.
“WellSpan Health is very excited to be one of the first collaborative partners with the new Maryland Proton Treatment Center,” says Douglas Arbittier, MD, MBA, vice president of WellSpan’s Oncology Service Line. “Several of our radiation oncologists have undergone the extensive training needed to provide this advanced treatment for our patients. This is yet another example of WellSpan’s commitment to bringing state-of-the-art cancer care to the people we serve across southcentral Pennsylvania.”
Zeljko Vujaskovic, MD, PhD, Professor of Radiation Oncology at UM SOM, who heads the Maryland Proton Alliance (MPA), says, “We’re excited about this new partnership with WellSpan Health. This type of collaboration helps further the mission of the MPA, which is to advance proton cancer treatment through clinical and translational research.” Dr. Vujaskovic also leads the Department of Radiation Oncology’s Division of Translational Radiation Sciences at UM SOM.
The MPA was created to bring together the multi-platform global research and education programs of UM SOM with the clinical services of MPTC.
“We are very pleased to collaborate with WellSpan Health,” says E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, vice president for medical affairs at the University of Maryland, who is the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and dean of the School of Medicine. “Such dynamic partnerships help us to make this technology available to more patients and to move the science of proton therapy forward.”
The first patients were treated at MPTC in February 2016. The 110,000-square-foot center, which houses a 90-ton cyclotron, is the first in the Eastern United States to offer ProBeam® image-guided intensity-modulated proton therapy (IMPT) in every treatment room.
While traditional radiation therapy is still an excellent option for most cancer patients, many patients could benefit from proton therapy, according to MPTC officials. The radiation dose in proton therapy stops at the tumor site, reducing radiation dose exposure to surrounding healthy tissue, thereby reducing side effects and preventing damage to critical organs.
About the Maryland Proton Treatment Center
The Maryland Proton Treatment Center (MPTC) offers proton therapy – a highly advanced and precise form of radiation therapy that can increase radiation dose to tumor while decreasing dose to healthy, surrounding tissue – to the Baltimore/Washington region and beyond. It is a highly effective treatment for a wide range of localized tumors such as those found in the brain, base of the skull, head and neck area, eye tumors, tumors of the esophagus, lung, prostate, liver, breast, spinal cord, as well as gastrointestinal malignancies. It is also an important treatment option for children with cancer.
At MPTC, each treatment room is equipped with the most advanced form of “pencil beam” proton therapy, which essentially paints the radiation onto the tumor while stopping precisely at the site of the tumor. Proton therapy is performed on an outpatient basis and is a well-tolerated, non-invasive treatment that can reduce side effects. It can be used in conjunction with other modalities of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and surgery. MPTC offers a robust clinical trial program to all its patients to further evidence-based medicine.
MPTC has been patient-centered from the beginning – with a focus on accessibility and affordability. The center was designed to be a regional resource, providing the same training, privileges and clinical guidelines to physician groups across the region that work side-by-side with MPTC faculty and staff, thus improving efficiency and affordability. MPTC offers free concierge services to ensure a seamless patient experience and a successful reconnection back to their referring physician. One of the goals of MPTC is to remain cost-neutral to insurance providers, meaning patients pay the same for proton treatment as they would for other more conventionally available intensity-modulated treatments at the University of Maryland Medical Center. http://www.mdproton.com/