Scientists, technicians from across globe attend Proton User Meeting

Two hundred of the top cancer clinicians and therapists gathered from 20 different countries and four continents for the annual IBA Proteus Users Meeting presented at the Texas Center for Proton Therapy on March 19-20.

“It’s wonderful and beautiful,” Medical Director of Willis-Knighton Cancer Center in Shreveport, La., Dr. Lane Rosen, said. “I don’t think they have spared any expenses. I’m sitting here just looking around the facility. It’s just very high end. I think they did a very wonderful job trying to make it not only aesthetically pleasing, but calming, and I’m very impressed by it.”

IBA is the world’s leading provider of proton therapy solutions. The Willis-Knighton Cancer Center in Shreveport and Texas Center for Proton Therapy in Dallas worked together to host the event.

“Today is the IBA user meeting, which is a proton equipment vendor who manufactures more proton equipment than any vendor in the world,” Director Gary Barlow said. “There are 25 proton centers operating in the United States today. Over two thirds of them are IBA vendor proton centers, so all of the engineers and all of the sales people and scientists will be here today to see this proton center. We have IBA equipment, and they are looking at it from a clinical perspective.

“The meeting is also a collaborative meeting where they bring together all the proton centers in not only the United States, but all over the world. They also come and share collaborative data on how to use proton therapy to eradicate cancer without damaging normal healthy tissue.”

The event gave those in attendance a chance to learn about how the Texas Center for Proton Therapy operates.

“I have visited almost 30 proton centers in my career along with the Texas Proton Center here in Irving,” Rosen said. “Together Dallas and Shreveport hosted the IBA International Users Meeting. We have actually been in Shreveport for the last two days where we had a big Cajun and creole party with a zydeco band and crawfish and a bar all out of a plantation home. Then we had the pleasure of coming to see this beautiful facility to learn about the physicians here in Dallas doing really great work with proton therapy as well.”

This year was the first time that the Proton Users Meeting was hosted at the Texas Center for Proton Therapy as the event alternates between Europe, Asia and the United States annually.

“There were roughly 125 guests here today,” Barlow said. “When they came in, we divided them into five groups so they could see the different areas of this 60,000 square foot world class cancer facility. They got a chance to see the various areas imaging, treatment planning and go to treatment delivery and spend about two hours with us. They also heard from our medical director Dr. Andrew Lee who talked to each group for 15 minutes about the future of proton therapy and where it is going in regards to being able to treat more cancers without side effects and without compromising the patient’s quality of life.

“In a nutshell that’s what proton therapy does. [It provides] hope for more cancer survivors to be cured from their disease without side effects and compromising their quality of life.”

Don Williams a representative of the Irving Chamber of Commerce who strategically partnered with Barlow and the IBA to bring the Texas Center for Proton Therapy to the North Texas region is a cancer survivor. He feels that the center is an asset for the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

“I’m an accountant by trade, not a scientist, but I do know from being around them that this technology will zero in on the tumor itself and not damage the other parts of the body, which is very critical to patients,” Williams said. “Patients coming from out of town will stay in extended stay hotels and after their treatment they will want to know where the golf courses are, the malls so they can go shopping and all of that, so you don’t have the typical sickness that you would have from radiation and traditional cancer treatments. It’s a true asset for North Texas, and for the residents in Irving it’s just unbelievable, a tremendous asset.”