McLaren Proton Therapy Center Offers Newest Cancer-Fighting Technology

Precise Treatment Spares Healthy Tissue with Fewer Side Effects

McLaren Health Care is proud to introduce the newest weapon in its arsenal of cancer-fighting technology: Proton Therapy. The most powerful and precise radiation oncology treatment available to treat cancer is now provided at the McLaren Proton Therapy Center, located on the campus of the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Flint, Michigan.

As one of only 28 proton therapy centers in the United States, the McLaren Proton Therapy Center features leading treatment technology and expertise to deliver proton therapy with supreme precision. This advanced technology delivers higher doses of radiation to cancer cells while sparing healthy tissue and organs, greatly lowering the risk of secondary cancer, reducing side effects, and resulting in strong cure rates.

The benefit of proton therapy: radiation that stops at the target

Patients experience fewer side effects and complications when healthy tissues and organs are spared from unnecessary radiation. The goal of radiation therapy is to deliver the optimal amount of radiation to the target (the tumor), while minimizing the radiation to healthy parts of the body. That’s the power of proton therapy. It accurately and precisely targets the tumor while sparing healthy tissue more than any other form of radiation therapy. With proton therapy, the great majority of unnecessary radiation outside the target is avoided completely. Compared to traditional forms of radiation, proton therapy releases most of the radiation dose at an exact point inside the tumor and not along the path through which the beam exits the body. In fact, there is virtually no “exit dose” of radiation beyond the tumor volume, which means the protons stop at the tumor and do not continue on to harm healthy parts of the body.

Leaders in Advanced, Next Generation Technology

When it comes to proton therapy, McLaren Proton Therapy Center provides several major advances.

  • Pencil-beam scanning and a state-of-the-art delivery system called Intensity Modulated Proton Therapy (IMPT) ensure that the distribution of radiation is very precise. With pencil-beam scanning, a focused set of proton beams (as small as a few millimeters in diameter) can target the tumor. This considerably reduces radiation exposure to healthy tissues.
  • Isocentric gantries with 180-degree rotation and highly sophisticated robotic patient-positioning systems enable incredible flexibility of beam delivery, which allows the radiation beam to be directed with incredible accuracy—down to a millimeter. Coupled with a robotic couch, this technology allows for 360-degree rotation and unlimited treatment angles.
  • The Radiance 330 synchrotron generates proton beams with energies up to 250 megaelectron volts (MeV. The Radiance 330 synchrotron produces less harmful radiation and less scatter radiation because it uses pencil-beam technology.
  • Image Guidance allows for precise positioning of the target (tumor) for accurate delivery.

Cancers Treated by Proton Therapy

Proton therapy most often treats solid tumors and is particularly applicable to treat certain cancers including:

  • Bladder Cancer
  • Brain and Central Nervous System Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Esophageal Cancer
  • Head, neck, and skull base Cancer
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Lymphoma
  • Liver Cancer
  • Lung and thorax Cancer
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Pediatric Tumors
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Sarcoma
  • Spine and Chest Wall Cancer
  • Select Gynecological and Gastrointestinal Cancer
  • Recurrent disease

Our expert team of physicians, physicists and other proton specialists are highly trained in proton therapy and work collaboratively to provide an individualized treatment plan for each person’s unique cancer and situation. The physician team of board certified radiation oncologists include Medical Director Hesham Gayar, M.D., who serves as Vice President for the Particle Therapy Co-Operative Group (PTCOG), North American Chapter, and on the Steering Committee for PTCOG worldwide; Kiran Devisetty, M.D.; Jack Nettleton, M.D., and Omar Gayar, M.D.

Treatment Experience and Support Services

Proton therapy is a noninvasive modality, and the actual beam of protons is only delivered for several minutes per session. Typically, the entire treatment experience, from entering the Proton Center to the completion of treatment, takes less than an hour. Depending on the specific case, patients typically receive these daily outpatient treatments for a number of weeks, with treatment plans varying based on tumor type, location and size. Because of proton therapy’s noninvasive nature, many patients report limited side effects, with most feeling well enough to continue on with their normal daily activities during the treatment period.

Support services available for patients include: proton navigator, nutritional counseling, art therapy, wellness classes, and financial counseling. Additionally, the McLaren Hospitality House, located adjacent to the Proton Therapy Center, provides comfortable, extended-stay housing at minimal cost and offers a healing, caring and comfortable environment for patients and their caregivers who are traveling long distances for treatment. A full complement of activities, programs, quiet spaces and amenities are available at the facility. Since patients receiving proton therapy require treatment daily for approximately six to eight weeks, the McLaren Hospitality House provides easy access to treatment, support services and care for other medical needs.

For more information about the McLaren Proton Therapy Center, visit or call 855-697-7686 (855-MYPROTON)