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Loma Linda University to Dedicate Proton Treatment Center to Cancer Therapy Pioneer James M. Slater, M.D.

'Father' of Proton Treatment Therapy to be Honored Sunday, December 9, at

Unveiling of the Renamed James M. Slater, M.D., Proton Treatment and

Research Center

LOMA LINDA, Calif., Dec. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Loma Linda University Medical Center (LLUMC), the nation's first hospital to utilize proton beam therapy for cancer, will dedicate its internationally renowned Proton Treatment Center to founder and cancer therapy pioneer James M. Slater, M.D., FACR, vice chairman of the Department of Radiation Medicine and director of the Radiobiology Laboratories at LLUMC. The renaming and dedication event will take place Sunday, December 9, in a celebration that will include public tours of the nation's first hospital-based Proton Treatment Center, a dedication ceremony and a dinner for supporters of the center.

"The establishment of Loma Linda's Proton Treatment Center in 1990 was the result of 20 years of engineering, radiation and cancer therapy research by a visionary physician and leader, Dr. James M. Slater," said Mel Sauder, senior vice president, Loma Linda University Medical Center. "Dr. Slater not only pioneered the use of proton therapy for prostate, lung and brain cancers, but helped to organize and recruit physicists from high-energy physics laboratories around the world to form the Proton Therapy Co-Operative Group, which ultimately developed the design requirements for a hospital-based center."

LLUMC's Proton Treatment Center provides proton therapy to more patients worldwide than any other center of its kind, currently serving about 150 patients a day. Since its opening in 1990, the center has treated more than 12,000 patients and, until 2003, was the only cancer therapy facility of its kind in the United States.

Proton Therapy is a precise form of radiation treatment for cancer that utilizes targeted proton beams to minimize damage to healthy tissue and surrounding organs, and reduces radiation side effects.

"I became very interested in proton beam therapy during my residency in radiotherapy in the 1960s when I saw the devastating side effects that untargeted radiotherapy has on cancer patients undergoing radiation treatment," said Dr. Slater. "I realized that this problem could be minimized if normal-tissue exposure to radiation was reduced."

After receiving a National Institutes of Health fellowship to study radiation therapy at the University of Texas's Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute in the late 1960's, Dr. Slater used his physics background to develop several devices to deliver more targeted therapies. But it wasn't until the 1970s when he was appointed director of the Radiotherapy Section of the Department of Radiation Sciences at LLUMC that Dr. Slater began investigating proton therapy and computed tomography (CT). By the early 1980s, further development of CT and MRI in the medical world, combined with increased computing capabilities, made development of a hospital-based proton treatment system feasible.

In 1984, Dr. Slater started dedicated work toward developing a variable-energy proton delivery system that would be hospital-based, safe, dependable and easily upgradeable. With the scientific backing of Proton Therapy Co-Operative Group, as well as cooperation from the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory to build the world's smallest proton synchrotron to deliver a beam of energy to reach deep tumors in patients, Dr. Slater gained the backing of LLU to develop the Proton Treatment Center.

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About the James M. Slater, M.D., Proton Treatment and Research Center, and Loma Linda University Medical Center

The James M. Slater, M.D., Proton Treatment and Research Center at Loma Linda University Medical Center was the first hospital-based proton therapy facility in the world. Established in 1990, it was the only facility of its kind in the United States until 2003. Loma Linda University Medical Center, a Seventh-Day Adventist institution, is among the largest private medical educational centers in the United States and the only one in inland southern California. The Medical Center is also the only Level 1 Regional Trauma for four inland southern California counties. Since its beginning in 1905, Loma Linda University Medical Center has been serving the worldwide community and is the international leader in infant heart transplantation and proton radiation therapy for cancer. The Medical Center, along with the Loma Linda University Medical Center East Campus and Loma Linda University Behavioral Medical Center, has nearly 900 patient beds and serves over 33,000 inpatients and 650,000 outpatients annually. Loma Linda University Medical Center has some of the leading clinical programs in the United States including outpatient surgery and neonatal care. It is licensed for 72 neonatal intensive care beds and is one of the largest facilities of its kind in the world.

SOURCE Loma Linda University Medical Center
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