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Northern Illinois Proton Center on the Verge of Major Medical Breakthrough
Date:2/24/2010

"Prior to our study, neutron exposures caused by proton therapy were not well understood, and previous publications speculated on the possible dangers of proton therapy, causing confusion as to its appropriateness for treating children," said Newhauser.

There are two types of proton therapy, passively scattered and scanned-beam, and Newhauser's research team concluded both techniques are barely distinguishable in terms of risk specifically from stray neutron radiation.  Passively scattered proton therapy was estimated at 1.5 percent and scanned beam proton therapy was estimated at 0.8 percent.

"Our evidence now shows that the risk is lower following proton therapy, regardless of the technique used," said Newhauser.  "Nevertheless, there still is risk and it is important to continue attempts to reduce stray radiation exposure as much as possible.  Together with researchers from NIPTRC, we aim to produce a high-quality body of evidence to support clinical decision making on whether a patient receives proton or photon therapy."

Newhauser's graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in medical physics have garnered numerous awards and recognition for their research on proton therapy.  In addition, as a result of the
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SOURCE Northern Illinois Proton Treatment and Research Center
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