About Proton Therapy

Proton therapy is a form of radiation treatment that delivers an exact, high dose of radiation to a tumor site while sparing surrounding healthy tissue and organs from damage.

This treatment utilizes the protons to damage the DNA of cancerous cells, causing them to die. Because it can be more precise than conventional forms of radiation treatment, proton therapy is valuable in limiting the collateral damage to healthy parts of the patient’s body. Depending on the diagnosis, proton therapy may be used alone or be combined with surgery and/or systemic therapies such as chemotherapy or immunotherapy.

The equipment that produces the proton therapy technology includes:

The cyclotron weighs 90 tons and is the source of the proton beam line for the system. It is a compact particle accelerator that uses electromagnetic waves to accelerate protons to two-thirds the speed of light.

The beam line, almost 100 yards in length, travels through the facility and further accelerates the protons before they reach the five treatment rooms in the Emory Proton Therapy Center.

The gantry, weighing 240 tons, is the central structure for each treatment room that precisely and accurately positions proton therapy for each patient.

The Emory Proton Therapy Center

The new Emory Proton Therapy Center brings a powerful new cancer-fighting tool to Georgia. The Emory Proton Therapy Center combines the world’s most advanced radiation technologies and treatments for patients with specific cancers and the expertise of renowned specialists from Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University. These physicians have the expertise and experience to determine the appropriate use of this advanced technology as part of a complete treatment plan. The physicians and researchers at the Winship Cancer Institute continue to be at the forefront of cancer research and discovery, transforming the way each patient’s unique cancer is detected, diagnosed, treated and survived.

The Emory Proton Therapy Center is equipped with the most advanced and precise proton technology available anywhere. Traditional radiation therapy uses photons, which are X-Ray waves, that can deposit some of their energy into tissues other than the tumor. Proton technology uses subatomic particles that accelerate and penetrate to very well defined tumor sites.

The new facility is capable of providing proton beam treatments to patients in 5 rooms. With powerful new capabilities, the Winship Cancer Institute and the Emory Proton Therapy Center can expand the accessibility of life-saving treatment to patients in Georgia and beyond.