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.

Proton therapy uses accelerated subatomic particles (protons) to treat a variety of cancers and certain noncancerous tumors.

This treatment utilizes the protons to damage the DNA of cancerous cells, causing them to die. Proton therapy can be more precise than conventional forms of radiation treatment, delivering radiation to a specific tumor site while sparing surrounding healthy tissue and organs from damage. 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 Emory Proton Therapy Center is equipped with the most advanced and precise proton technology available anywhere and is supplied by Varian Medical Systems, Inc. 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 equipment that produces this 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.
  • The gantry, weighing 240 tons, is the central structure for each treatment room that precisely and accurately positions proton therapy for each patient.

The facility is capable of providing proton beam treatments to patients in 5 rooms.

Header image of treatment room: ©Prakash Patel. Courtesy of Stantec Architecture.

Request an Appointment

Referring physicians and patients with questions about proton therapy and its appropriateness for their individual cancers can schedule a consultation with a Winship radiation oncology expert by calling 1-833-3PROTON (1-833-377-6866).

Georgia Proton Treatment Center (GPTC), LLC, owns the building and the land and is financing the operations of the Emory Proton Therapy Center. GPTC is owned by Provident Resources Group Inc., a non-profit organization.

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