Earlier this month, the New York Proton Center’s own Dr. Isabelle Choi, Dr. Arpit Chhabra and Dr. Charles Simone headlined panels at the National Association for Proton Therapy (NAPT) National Proton Conference in St. Petersburg, Florida – an annual event for experts across the country to connect, educate and collaborate on groundbreaking research that will advance the understanding of proton therapy in cancer care.
This is a critical moment for proton therapy, with impactful clinical trials and game-changing research – much of it being led by NYPC investigators – helping determine the utility of this advanced radiation modality and expanding its access to patients nationwide.
On Day 1, Dr. Isabelle Choi, NYPC’s Director of Research and Clinical Director, spoke in the “Protons in the Multidisciplinary Care for Breast Cancer” panel to discuss the increasing clinical evidence of proton therapy as a treatment for early stage, locally advanced, and recurrent breast cancer. Dr. Choi offered insights on the RADCOMP study, a crucial clinical trial now underway to evaluate the efficacy of proton therapy compared to traditional radiotherapy for patients with locally advanced breast cancer. Dr. Choi then sat on the “Cancer Moonshot Initiative” panel to discuss President Biden’s reignition of the bold initiative to reduce the cancer death rate by at least 50% over the next 25 years and how proton therapy can play a meaningful role in achieving this goal.
Also on Day 1, Dr. Simone, NYPC Chief Medical Officer, spoke on “FLASH and the Future of Particle Therapy,” discussing FLASH, an innovative technological advancement that allows patients to receive a full course of radiation in a single day, while potentially having fewer toxicities than conventional treatments delivered over the course of several weeks. Dr. Simone noted that although additional preclinical trials need to be performed to understand the full benefits of FLASH therapy, if the results achieved to date are confirmed, FLASH can be a transformative modality for all of clinical oncology care.
On Day 2, all three of our experts – radiation oncologist Dr. Arpit Chhabra, Dr. Choi and Dr. Simone – spoke on the “Promise of Proton Therapy in the Reirradiation Setting” panel, an engaging discussion on the use of reirradiation, the ability of proton therapy to offer a new chance of cure for patients with recurrent tumors, and about innovative reirradiation clinical trials led by the New York Proton Center. NYPC prides itself on its reirradiation treatment experience, with 41% of our patients treated being reirradiation cases, compared to the national average of 11% among proton centers in the United States. Our NYPC experts used this opportunity to discuss the most comprehensive reirradiation clinical trial ever initiated that is now underway at NYPC.
Dr. Simone also spoke on the current state of insurance authorization and delay in the proton therapy community, and he discussed novel approaches that NYPC pursues to minimize delays and optimize insurance approvals for patients who can benefit from proton therapy. John Tsantakis, NYPC’s Vice President of Finance, also participated in this session.
It has never been a more important time in healthcare than now to talk about the benefits of proton therapy. With President Biden squarely focused on improving cancer care and a broader focus from the public on more innovative forms of treatment, the future is bright for proton therapy and those who provide it.
We are grateful for experts like Dr. Choi, Dr. Chhabra and Dr. Simone who are conducting the industry-leading research that will make proton therapy more accessible for patients who need it. We are also grateful to the National Association for Proton Therapy for creating a forum like the National Proton Conference for experts to convene and collaborate on advancing research that will benefit countless lives.
We look forward to discussing further advances and progress on these and more topics at next year’s conference.