In proton radiation therapy, protons deliver precise beams of radiation to a tumor. The first cancer patient received proton therapy in the 1950s, but only in the 1990s did the therapy make its way into a hospital. Advocates of proton therapy say that it can minimize side effects and that it offers hope to patients who have few or no treatment options left. Proton centers are opening around the country, and in a year, a proton center will open here in Baltimore at the University of Maryland BioPark. Minesh Mehta, the medical director of the Maryland Proton Treatment Center joins Sheilah by phone. We also hear from Dr. Mehta's patient Daryl Marciszewski, who received proton therapy in Chicago.
You can see a picture of the machine that delivers proton beam therapy in this NPR story.