Mayo Celebrates Proton Beam Therapy Center, Schedules Treatments for June

Watch an overview of proton beam therapy from Mayo Clinic

Treatment is likely to begin next month at Mayo Clinic’s $188 million Proton Beam Therapy Center.

Housed in the Richard O. Jacobson Building, named for a long-time Mayo patient who donated $100 million for the center’s construction, the Proton Beam Therapy Center will be able to treat more than 130 cancer patients a day with a cutting-edge type of radiation therapy that obliterates tumors with surgical precision while leaving surrounding tissue almost entirely unscathed.

The experimental treatment approach is called “intensity-modulated pencil beam therapy,” which uses a particle accelerator to rev up individual protons to two-thirds the speed of light and aim them directly into tumors, where they fracture the malignancies’ DNA, rendering the disease unable to replicate. You can read more about Mayo’s Proton Therapy on Mayo Clinic’s website.

The approach promises to be most helpful for patients whose tumors are situated in particularly sensitive areas, such as the brain or esophagus. Children also are likely to benefit greatly from this type of radiation therapy, as the proton beam can help shrink tumors while sparing their sensitive and still-developing organs.

Moreover, the pencil beam proton treatment reduces the uncomfortable side effects often associated with traditional radiation therapy, and in some cases eliminates them altogether.

Watch a time-lapse video of the 3-year construction