HU Proton Therapy Institute’s First Patients Complete Treatment

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HUPTI’s first group of patients, left to right: Ronald Cosman, Alfred Scott and Thomas Hardy

Hampton, Va. – The Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute’s first group of patients completed their course of treatment for prostate cancer.

“This is exciting,” said Allan Thornton, MD, HUPTI radiation oncologist. “Treatments have gone extremely well. Our first group of patients has been wonderful and most accommodating and has responded to the treatment well. My partner, Christopher Sinesi, MD [HUPTI medical director], and I are pleased with the level of support from the Hampton Roads medical community thus far.”

“Being one of the first patients at HUPTI has changed my outlook on life,” said Alfred Scott, of Hampton, Va, who celebrated his 33rd wedding anniversary the day before his last treatment. “I have not experienced any side effects going through this treatment, which gave me a new lease on life.”

HUPTI’s first group of patients has expressed feeling no side effects from their course of treatment.

“I have had no adverse side effects during my treatments,” said Thomas Hardy, a resident of Smithfield, Va. “This was the ideal treatment.” Proton therapy is able to target the tumor while sparing surrounding healthy tissue, thus minimizing side effects.

Cynthia Keppel, PhD, scientific and technical director, HUPTI, was also beaming with excitement. “It’s one thing to start up, and quite another to see our first group of patients walking out the door having finished their treatments,” said Keppel, who was the first HUPTI team member appointed, having worked on the project for over six years.

Each patient said the staff made a difference in their treatment experience.

“This facility has a staff that I consider to be second to none,” said Hardy. “Their expertise and experience in handling patients is superb. I will forever remember and give thanks to Dr. Harvey for bringing this facility to us.”

“I have never been to a medical facility where right from the door, the greetings from the whole staff and their demeanor makes you feel welcome,” said Scott, “This is a first, and I’ve been to many medical facilities.”

HUPTI started seeing patients in August. Keppel said her team is diligently working to commission the second treatment room, which is expected to be ready in early winter 2011.

“This has been a unique experience for me and the other first patients as we all bonded immediately, after seeing each other daily for our treatments,” said Ronald Cosman, HUPTI’s first patient, who also experienced no side effects. “The friendships that were formed will last a lifetime.

“I would wholeheartedly recommend [HUPTI] to anyone. They would experience the most relaxing, professional and caring treatment that they could imagine.”

HUPTI is the eighth proton facility in the U.S. and the largest of its kind in the world. At full operation, HUPTI is expected to treat approximately 2,000 patients per year with prostate, breast, brain, lung, ocular and pediatric and other cancers. HUPTI’s 200-ton cyclotron originates and spins the protons at 60 percent of the speed of light, sending the resulting beam down a beam line to the treatment room. The actual treatment of protons lasts a mere minute. Patients are treated five days a week, from five to ten weeks.

For additional information, please contact Sarita L. Scott at 757.251.6814 or sarita.scott@hamptonu.edu.