Two of the Tampa Bay area’s leading cancer centers will offer patients an innovative treatment known as proton therapy in the next few years.
Tampa General Hospital and Moffitt Cancer Center each plan to build proton therapy centers to fill gaps in local access to treatments that may have fewer side effects than conventional radiation.
Conventional radiation typically uses x-rays or photon beams to energize the tumor. However, because this energy passes through the body, it can also damage nearby healthy tissue.
“Not only does it help reduce the side effects that patients experience with radiation, but it also has the potential to allow more doses to be given to the tumor, which can allow for more effective treatment.” , said Richard Tulli, Ph.D., associate director of the Cancer Institute at Tampa General.
Proton therapy is particularly beneficial for children, whose growing tissues and organs are particularly sensitive to radiation, Turi said. It’s also good for cancers near “vital structures.”
“You might imagine a tumor pushing up on your spinal cord, brain, or certain nerves. If they happen to be irritated or damaged by radiation, it can have serious consequences,” says Tuli. says Mr.
Proton therapy is more expensive and complex to deliver, and is not yet widely available. There are only a few dozen centers nationwide compared to thousands of conventional radiation facilities.
Tampa Bay residents need access to other parts of the state, including Orlando, South Florida, and Jacksonville.
That should change in 2025, when Tampa General plans to open a proton therapy center near Tampa’s Hyde Park neighborhood in partnership with the Florida Cancer Specialist and Research Institute.
Moffitt plans to have its own unit operational in 2026 at the new 775-acre Global Innovation Center under construction in Pasco County.
“This exciting new technology will allow us to extend our clinical and research expertise to proton therapy, as we aim to continuously deliver the best possible patient outcomes, thus enabling personalized It strengthens Moffitt’s position as a leader in advanced adaptive radiotherapy,” Moffitt’s CEO said in a statement.