Document Detail

NCI Support for Particle Therapy: Past, Present, Future.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23032896     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Data-Review    
ABSTRACT: In light of the rising worldwide interest in particle therapy, and proton therapy specifically in the United States, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) is being asked more often about funding for such research and facilities. Many of the questions imply that NCI is naive to the exciting possibilities inherent in particle therapies, and thus they wish to encourage NCI to initiate and underwrite such programs. In fact, NCI has a long track record of support for the translation of hadrons from the physics laboratory to the therapy clinic by way of technology development and scientific investigations of physical and biological processes as well as clinical outcomes. Early work has included continuous funding since 1961 of proton treatments for more than 15,000 patients and facility construction at the Harvard/Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) site; treatment of 227 patients with the pi-meson facility at Los Alamos between 1974 and 1981; funding of more than $69M for seven neutron therapy centers between 1971 and 1989; many funded projects in boron neutron capture radiation therapy through the present time; and numerous radiobiology projects over the past 50 y. NCI continues to play an active role in the incorporation of protons into randomized clinical trials through the Children's Oncology Group, Radiation Therapy Oncology Group, and the Program Project Grant (P01), which is co-directed by the MGH and MD Anderson Cancer Center. This has required funding development and implementation of guidelines that enable intercomparison of dosimetry and treatment between facilities. NCI has also funded recent efforts to develop new physical processes for the production of particles such as protons. With regard to the future, while it is true that there are no specific funding opportunity announcements directed to particle therapy research, it is also true that NCI remains open to reviewing any research that is compatible with an established mechanism. However, given the very substantial resources that these facilities currently require along with the highly competitive economic environment that now exists, it is clear that scientific review of such grant applications will look to leverage the scientific pursuits that are the NCI mandate with the reality of the clinical practices, just as is the case for photon radiation research. Such leveraging should be enhanced by the growing opportunities and need for international collaborations. On the other hand, these collaborations are complicated by the fact that these particle therapies are now fully reimbursable modalities, which makes it difficult to separate research (the NCI mission) from clinical practice development. This paper seeks to illuminate these new realities in order to encourage the pursuit and funding of the scientific underpinnings of physical methods, radiobiology, and clinical practice with particle therapy.
James A Deye
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Health physics     Volume:  103     ISSN:  1538-5159     ISO Abbreviation:  Health Phys     Publication Date:  2012 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-10-03     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  2985093R     Medline TA:  Health Phys     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  662-6     Citation Subset:  IM    
*Radiation Research Programs, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, MD 20892-7440.
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