A new era in cancer treatment in Georgia recently began as Emory Healthcare and Winship Cancer Institute broke ground on the first facility in Georgia to offer the most advanced radiation therapy possible – proton beam therapy.
Proton therapy is the next generation of radiation oncology. It uses protons to precisely treat cancerous tumors and minimize radiation to the healthy tissue surrounding the tumor. For certain cancers, and for pediatric cancer patients, it may provide more effective treatment with fewer side effects. This innovative therapy is offered at fewer than a dozen centers in the United States but is available in other countries and more than 110,000 people worldwide have received this FDA-approved therapy. The Emory facility is being built in partnership with Advanced Particle Therapy, LLC of San Diego, CA.
Proton therapy may be most beneficial for patients with cancerous our benign tumors in certain anatomic areas, including the brain, prostate, liver, esophagus, head and neck and the base-of-skull. It’s also beneficial for treating children because of the risk to growth and developmental from conventional radiation. Studies in children have shown that proton therapy minimizes damage to healthy tissues and produces fewer side effects.
The Emory Proton Therapy Center will enable Winship researchers to continue studying the benefits of proton therapy, with the goal of producing better outcomes for our patients. At Winship we constantly seek out the most effective treatment available, and for many of our patients, proton therapy is that treatment. As Georgia’s only National Cancer Institute designated cancer center, Winship is committed to cancer research projects which improve our patients’ lives.
About Dr. Curran
Walter J. Curran, Jr. was appointed Executive Director of the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in September 2009. He joined Emory in January 2008, as the Lawrence W. Davis Professor and Chair of Radiation Oncology and Chief Medical Officer of the Winship Cancer Institute.
Dr. Curran, who is a Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Scholar, has been a principal investigator on several National Cancer Institute (NCI) grants and is considered an international expert in the management of patients with locally advanced lung cancer and malignant brain tumors. He has led several landmark clinical and translational trials in both areas and is responsible for defining a universally adopted staging system for patients with malignant glioma. He serves as the Founding Secretary/Treasurer of the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups and a Board Member of the Georgia Center for Oncology Research and Education (Ga CORE). Dr. Curran is the only individual currently serving as director of an NCI-designated cancer center and as group chairman of an NCI-supported cancer cooperative group, the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group.
Dr. Curran is a Fellow in the American College of Radiology and has been awarded honorary memberships in the European Society of Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology and the Canadian Association of Radiation Oncology. In 2006, he was named the leading radiation oncologist/cancer researcher in a peer survey by the journal Medical Imaging. Under Dr. Curran’s leadership Emory’s Radiation Oncology Department has been recently selected as a “Top Five Radiation Therapy Centers to Watch in 2009” by Imaging Technology News. Dr. Curran ranked among the top 10 principal investigators in terms of overall NCI funding in 2010 and among the top 20 principal investigators in overall NIH funding in 2010.