First proton therapy center in the state achieves milestone with unprecedented speed, rapidly becoming one of the world’s busiest proton centers despite COVID-19
97 percent of NYPC patients enrolled in clinical trials advancing proton radiation therapy
New York, NY, March 16, 2021 — Today, the New York Proton Center (NYPC)—the New York City-based cancer radiation facility led by a consortium of providers including Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), Montefiore Health System and Mount Sinai Health System—announced the treatment of its 1,000th patient since opening its doors in August 2019.
Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, NYPC has achieved this milestone faster than any other proton center in the United States, responding to the strong demand among New Yorkers and patients around the world for this innovative form of radiotherapy that can reduce side effects, better preserve quality of life, and improve survival.
The $300 million, 140,000-square-foot center, sponsored in part by the NYC Economic Development Corporation, has proven a noteworthy success story in healthcare-focused development at a time when the City is aiming to make such projects a cornerstone of its infrastructure-led economic recovery.
The center’s 1000th patient is Pamela Armour from Suffern, New York. Ms. Armour is undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Compared to conventional radiation treatment, proton therapy delivers approximately 50 percent less radiation to the lungs and almost no radiation to the heart, greatly reducing the risks of short- and long-term side effects. Specifically for Ms. Armour, her tumor recurred after prior traditional radiation therapy, and proton therapy was her only safe chance at cure.
1,000 Patients Breakdown
Approximately 75 percent of the center’s patients have come from New York, 14 percent from New Jersey and Connecticut, and others from 27 states outside the tri-state area. Prior to the pandemic, international patients came to NYPC from around the world seeking treatment at one of the only institutions equipped with leading-edge ‘next generation’ proton beam technology and clinical expertise from the foremost experts in proton therapy.
As a result of its partnership with three renowned academic medical centers, NYPC treats not only one of the largest but also the most complex mix of patient cases. The center treats dozens of different types of cancers—especially tumors located near critical organs like the brain, heart and lungs.
Two of the most common conditions treated at NYPC are head and neck cancers (38 percent) and cancers of the central nervous system (19 percent), followed by patients with pediatric, lung, breast, gastrointestinal, and prostate cancers. Also commonly treated at the proton center are re-irradiation patients (41 percent) who have received radiation elsewhere and come to NYPC seeking what is often their only potential chance of cure.
Radiation Oncology Research Program
The center’s rise in patient volume is simultaneous with its development of one of the largest proton therapy research programs in the world. 97 percent of all patients who come to the proton center are participants in trials assessing the efficacy of proton therapy for a range of conditions like breast and lung cancer.
NYPC is also involved in several national phase III randomized studies comparing the efficacy of proton therapy to traditional radiation therapy.
“In only 19 months, the New York Proton Center has conducted industry-leading research, furthering the evidence that proton therapy is the most optimal treatment for a variety of patients and cancer types, and treated an astounding 1,000 patients,” said Dr. Charles Simone, FACRO, Chief Medical Officer of the New York Proton Center. “While we take this moment to reflect on our work over the past year-and-a-half, our focus remains on achieving unprecedented clinical outcomes and providing compassionate care for patients and their families, and we look forward to helping even more people as proton therapy grows to become an industry standard.”
“Despite a pandemic that has strained providers across the country, NYPC has maintained steady growth and responded to a strong demand for the highly advanced treatment that we provide,” said Jonathan Weinbach, CEO of the New York Proton Center. “I could not be prouder of our staff who have persevered through challenging conditions to help us reach this milestone with unprecedented speed. I congratulate Ms. Armour on her treatment and look forward to serving many more patients like her as we continue to advance this important, life-changing treatment.”
“I am so appreciative of the wonderful staff and health care professionals at NYPC. The team here makes a difficult experience better through the great care they show for their patients, said Pamela Armour, the New York Proton Center’s 1,000th patient. “I highly recommend proton therapy to any of my loved ones who need care. New Yorkers are lucky to have this center.”
“I congratulate all the faculty and staff of the New York Proton Center on an impressive achievement that is a powerful testament to their dedication, as well as the consortium model of operation, which brings highly specialized providers together to deliver the very best care for high-need patients,” said Dr. Simon Powell, Chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
“NYPC has proven to be an invaluable resource for our patients in the Bronx and Westchester. By bringing our academic health systems together, we are ensuring patients are being introduced to the latest cancer care technologies and are receiving the highest standards of clinical care. The Center, like all of us, has also navigated the COVID-19 pandemic with admirable dexterity, delivering safe care to our highly vulnerable cancer population. We are thrilled with its success,” said Dr. Shalom Kalnicki, FACRO, professor and chair, Radiation Oncology, Montefiore Health System and Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
“Especially in the face of all we’ve endured this past year, today is a moment to celebrate this institution and the many lives it has improved through its care. Less than two years ago, we celebrated the launch of New York’s first state-of-the-art proton center; it is gratifying to see NYPC fulfilling the role we all imagined for it—to provide cutting-edge therapy for New Yorkers and others who come to us for care and advance the evidence base for this critical treatment,” said Dr. Kenneth Rosenzweig, Chair of Radiation Oncology at Mount Sinai.
About the New York Proton Center.
The New York Proton Center is creating the gold standard for proton therapy, giving new hope to patients living with cancer. In partnership with leading academic medical centers—Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Montefiore Health System, and Mount Sinai Health System—the New York Proton Center brings together expert oncologists, clinical care teams, and researchers to improve cancer care and advance the clinical evidence for proton therapy.
For additional information, please visit www.nyproton.com.