For Physicians

At Ackerman Cancer Center, our goal is to be a resource for physicians with patients who would benefit from proton therapy.

We welcome physician referrals and seek a collaborative relationship where we work hand-in-hand with referring physicians, keeping them informed and in the loop throughout the entire treatment process. 

Our expert team of physicians are committed to providing fast, effective treatment that gives each patient the best potential for a cure. 

To make referring a patient as easy as possible, we can assist with: 

  • Consultations within 24 hours of referral 
  • Travel and lodging arrangements 
  • Reviewing insurance coverage and treatment costs 
  • Implementing treatment quickly 

To schedule a patient for consultation, please call us at 904-880-5522. 

Academic Resources on Proton Therapy

Is Proton Therapy Safer than Traditional Radiation? In this new study, researchers found that patients who received proton therapy instead of traditional radiation were less likely to experience side effects after receiving their cancer treatment. “These results support the whole rationale for proton therapy,” said the study’s lead investigator.

Foote R, et al. “The clinical case for proton beam therapy.” Radiation Oncology 2012; 7:174. This article is a great resource for clinicians who are learning about the benefits of proton beam therapy for the first time. It reviews the clinical indications for protons compared to other typical treatment modalities for disease sites ranging from ocular melanoma to prostate cancer.

Recommended Proton Therapy Indications. Updated April 2015, this document includes proton therapy indications from the National Association of Proton Therapy for Breast, Esophageal, Gastrointestinal, Hematologic, Prostate, and Thoracic Cancers. Indications include inclusion and exclusion criteria for various stages and diagnoses, and the scientific evidence supporting them.

Hammi. A. et al. "4D blood flow model for dose calculation to circulating blood and lymphocytes." Physics in Medicine & Biology. 2020; 65:5. Radiation is known to be damaging to the immune system, with recent studies linking radiation-induced lymphopenia (loss of lymphocytes, the white blood cells associated with immune response) with poor survival after radiotherapy. To better understand how radiation treatments affect circulating lymphocytes, researchers at MGH/Harvard Medical School developed a 4D computational blood flow model to calculate the blood dose during radiotherapy.

Please find further academic resources organized by cancer type below.

Dinh, Tru-Khang T. et al. "Rectal Hydrogel Spacer Improves Late Gastrointestinal Toxicity Compared To Rectal Balloon Immobilization After Proton Beam Radiotherapy For Localized Prostate Cancer: A Retrospective Observational Study." International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, and Physics 2020. The results of this study show that the use of rectal hydrogel spacer during proton therapy to treat prostate cancer had a significantly lower incidence of rectal bleeding compared with the use of a rectal balloon.

Mendenhall N, et al. “FiveYear Outcomes from 3 Prospective Trials of Image-Guided Proton Therapy for Prostate Cancer.” International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, and Physics 2014; 88(3): 596-602. Researchers determined that “proton therapy for low-, medium-, and high-risk prostate cancer patients is highly effective, minimally toxic, and associated with excellent patient-reported outcomes. Proton therapy compares favorably with other contemporary radiation modalities used in treating prostate cancer.”

Pugh T, et al. “Quality of Life and Toxicity from Passively Scattered and Spot-Scanning Proton Beam Therapy for Localized Prostate Cancer.” International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, and Physics 2013; 87(5): 946-53. A 24-month study of patients with non-metastatic prostate cancer was conducted, beginning before the patient began either passively scattered [PSPT] or spot-scanning proton beam therapy [SSPT] and continuing through follow-up appointments for a minimum of two years. The study found that both PSPT and SSPT resulted in an improved quality of life where sexual and urinary functions were concerned, compared to intensity-modulated radiation therapy.

Rana S, et al. “Proton therapy vs. VMAT for prostate cancer: a treatment planning study.” International Journal of Particle Therapy 2014; 1(1): 22-33. The treatment planning study found that, “for the same target coverage, in comparison to the VMAT [volumetric modulated arc therapy] technique,” Proton Therapy “is significantly better at sparing the rectum and the bladder [from radiation exposure], especially in the low- and medium-dose regions,” though it does result in a comparatively higher dose of radiation to the femoral heads.

Every clinical case is different. If you have further questions regarding a specific referral case, our radiation oncology team can be reached at 904-880-5522.

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