2022 has been yet another amazing year for the New York Proton Center. Now entering our fourth year as the only proton center in New York State, we reached new milestones, and led innovative, practice-changing research. Above all, caring for our patients remains our highest priority and we are proud of the now thousands of lives we have been able to impact thanks to our exceptional team and one-of-a-kind technology.
As the year comes to a close, we want to take a moment to reflect on just a few of our many highlights from the past 12 months. This year, we:
- Celebrated significant institutional milestones, reflecting our record-breaking growth. We treated our 2,000th patient in February – reaching that milestone faster than any other proton center in the country – and marked our third anniversary in August. We have continued to grow remarkably fast and see well over a hundred patients walk through our doors every day.
- Continued to distinguish ourselves as an industry-leader for crucial research and clinical trials. We participated in the influential JAMA study supporting the clinical use of innovative proton FLASH radiotherapy for bone metastases, established ourselves as the world leader in physics FLASH proton therapy research, and conducted our first translational research experiments in FLASH. We continued research around proton therapy for locally advanced breast cancer, lung cancer, and other cancers, and we studied racial disparities in access to treatment. NYPC physicians lead national and international guidelines defining the optimal treatment for lung cancer, esophageal cancer, breast cancer, stereotactic body radiation therapy, and spatially fractionated radiation therapy. Additionally, over 97% of our patients were enrolled on a clinical trial. Our research is key to expanding access, lowering costs and spreading awareness of proton therapy.
The New York Proton Center was highly active in research around prostate cancer; after four years and 2,524 enrolled patients, COMPPARE (A Prospective Comparative Study of Outcomes with Proton and Photon Radiation in Prostate Cancer) officially closed to accrual on October 31. NYPC was one of the leading accruers to the study. In addition, NYPC’s first investigator-initiated trial on the use of Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) in treating prostate cancer continued to enroll robustly in 2022. Twenty-eight patients have enrolled since the trial’s launch in 2021 and all received this advanced treatment modality in just five treatments.
NYPC also opened its comprehensive reirradiation (ReRT) study this year, which is hugely significant since 43% of our center’s patients are reirradiation patients. The trial is open to adults with any type of cancer who received prior radiation therapy, and over 50 patients have been enrolled so far and have received proton reirradiation that, in many cases, has been their only chance of cure.
Next year, NYPC plans to open a number of new and novel investigator-initiated trials, including a Patient-Generated Health Data (PGHD) Activity Tracking Trial for hepatocellular cancer patients, an Intensity-Modulated Pleural Radiation Therapy (IMPRINT) trial for thoracic cancer patients, and a Rapid Anticonvulsant Medication Prior to Arrival Trial (RAMPART) for head and neck cancer patients.
- Participated in numerous high profile industry conferences and events, highlighting our institutional leaders and their work. Dr. Choi was a speaker at The Atlantic’s People vs. Cancer conference in November. Dr. Chhabra hosted Icotec Medical’s Inaugural Spine Tumor Symposium in September. Numerous NYPC physicians and physicists presented at the 2022 Radiosurgical Society Annual Meeting in March, the American College of Radiation Oncology Annual Meeting in March, the American Radium Society 103rd Annual Meeting in May, the 60th Annual PTCOG Meeting in June, the NRG Oncology Meeting in July, and the American Society for Radiation Oncology 64th Annual Meeting in October, among many others. These are all important opportunities to present our research findings and share expertise with other influential industry leaders.
- Delivered proton therapy training sessions to providers around the world. NYPC physicians, physicists, and dosimetrists delivered training sessions and/or proton therapy schools and hosted over a dozen site visits for centers from around the world who are developing proton therapy, including six different centers in Spain, a center in Taiwan, a center in Japan, a center in China, as well as for national leaders in oncology care who are newer to proton therapy, including Duke University, The Ohio State University, and Harvard Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center.
- Profiled our one-of-a-kind staff, who have an untold impact on our patients. From Astrid Amoresano, RN and Karen Kirby, RN of our outstanding nursing team to Child Life Coordinator Maria Martin and Lead Radiation Therapist Taek Oh, among countless others, we have the best staff in the field. Their stories are so meaningful and inspire others who may be thoughtfully considering their treatment options during what can be some of the most challenging moments of a person’s life.
This is the season of giving and, here at NYPC, our team gives everything we have every day to provide the best patient experience in the world. We are so grateful to serve our patients who inspire us and make us proud each and every day.
Thank you to everyone who helped make 2022 a year to remember. Here’s to health and happiness for all in 2023.