por Loren Bonner
, DOTmed News Online Editor | November 13, 2012
From the October 2012 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
The National Association for Proton Therapy (NAPT) will hold its very first conference Feb. 11 to 14, 2013 at the Washington Marriott Metro Center in Washington, D.C.
“We waited long enough, 22 years, it’s about time we step up to the plate and generate a national conference,” says Leonard Arzt, executive director of NAPT. “There are plenty of centers to support it.”
In the past, members of the proton therapy community gathered at annual American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) meetings or through events organized by the Particle Therapy Cooperative Group. At NPC2013, attendees will have a chance to formally come together over a three-day period to network and learn about challenges and opportunities in their field. The nation’s capital facilitates access to congressional leaders, speakers from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the National Cancer Institute, and private insurance providers who will all be on hand to shed light on the latest reimbursement, regulatory and legislative issues that affect proton therapy.
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A panel about pediatric patterns of care, moderated by Susan Ralston of the Pediatric Proton Foundation, will feature Dr. Daniel Indelicato of the University of Florida, Dr. Anita Mahajan of MD Anderson Cancer Center and Dr. Andrew Chang of Hampton University Proton Therapy
Dr. Sameer Keole of ProCure Proton Therapy Center will talk about prostate cancer with some former patients who will share their stories.
“We will also announce the results of a new scientific prostate patient outcomes study based on data from the Brotherhood of the Balloon group,” says Arzt. For developers in attendance, there will be sessions on what it takes to successfully run a proton center, including marketing and branding a facility.
“We have access for full participation by all the proton physicians and our members have gone through the process of developing proton centers so they will share what works and what to watch out for,” says Arzt.
In addition to the 10 centers currently operating across the U.S., 10 more are in the works. These range from smaller scale centers like Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, which will start treating patients in October, to large-scale centers like Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, which is expected to open in spring of next year.
Proton therapy is considered an effective alternative to potentially harmful conventional radiation treatment because it can directly target the cancer while avoiding critical body structures nearby. It’s been established as an alternative treatment option for men with prostate cancer for this reason, but it’s also commonly used to destroy tumors in the brain, lungs, head and neck, especially for pediatric patients.
All proceeds from the conference will support proton therapy education, public awareness programs and new clinical studies.