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Texas Center For Proton Therapy Commissions Its Beam, Names Chief Physicist

Publication: D Healthcare Daily, Dallas

The first proton therapy center in North Texas has begun testing the equipment.

One Friday last month, a group of about a half dozen physicists and physicist assistants crowded into a room of the Texas Center for Proton Therapy, eyes glued to a computer screen. To its left was a live feed of the treatment room; a glass cube filled with 50 cubic meters of water that the physicists were preparing to shoot a beam of radiation into.

Inside the vat of water was a sensor that moved upward half a millimeter at a time, testing the radiation in the water. The beam, invisible to the naked eye, is shot into the vat. The sensor moves up, up, up. Finally, the physicists get what they came for: A chart shows a line curve upward and peak before plummeting down to 0. That was where the radiation was and nowhere else, exactly what the experts wanted.

“We’re doing a small series of physics experiments literally dozens, if not hundreds, of times because we’re checking very different energies,” says Dr. Andrew K. Lee, the center’s medical director. “We’re checking different field sizes and we’re checking the beam at different angles.”

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