MCSMN Blog

April 30, 2012

Member Profile: National Association for Proton Therapy

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Editor's Note: This posis part of a series of posts by and about members of the Social Media Health Network. For a list of members and information on how your organization can join, see the Network tab.

The National Association for Proton Therapy (NAPT) is a non-profit organization supported by Proton Center members and is the Voice of the Proton Community. The NAPT promotes education and public awareness about the clinical benefits of Proton Beam Radiation Therapy. Founded in 1990, NAPT is an advocate for the advancement of Proton Therapy, promoting the therapeutic benefits of its use for cancer treatment in the U.S. and abroad. It serves as a resource center for patients, families, physicians, and the news media.

NAPT is committed to advancing public awareness about the benefits of Proton Therapy. We invite you to join us on Facebook to say up to date on the latest news in the Proton Community, and visit our YouTube Channel for a more in depth look at Proton Therapy treatment.

Proton Therapy evolved out of discoveries made during the Manhattan Project following the Second World War, which allowed the development of high energy particle accelerators. Dr. Robert R. Wilson, a physicist who had worked on these impressive machines, published a paper in 1946 that first proposed the medical use of protons for cancer therapy. The first use of protons to treat patients with certain cancers occurred less than 10 years later, while research and laboratory applications continued to increase rapidly over the next three decades. But it was not until the opening of the Proton Treatment Center at Loma Linda University Medical Center (LLUMC) in southern California that the full benefits of this new treatment modality could be offered to patients in a clinical setting. Loma Linda was the first to build a hospital based proton center and treated its first patient with proton therapy in October of 1990.

Hundreds of millions of dollars of federal funding went into the development of the high energy physics technology that accelerated the application of proton beam radiation therapy. Much of the early work was done at the U.S. Department of Energy and the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) outside Chicago. The U.S. now has 9 regional proton facilities providing cancer treatment to patients nationwide. View our map for  locations of proton therapy centers.

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