The Cyclotron Arrives, continued from page 13 maximum is deposited in the tumor and the surrounding normal structures are spared the high doses,” Bonner says. So for a patient with laryngeal cancer, proton therapy may be appropriate to protect the nearby lymph nodes in the neck. But if the nodes are also cancerous, then conventional radiation treatments will be just as effective since the surrounding area requires no special protection. And the patient avoids the higher cost of the proton therapy, which can run $18,000 to $100,000 more than other forms of radiotherapy. From the patient’s point-of-view, most of the process for proton therapy resembles traditional radiation therapy. “We have to spend more time for positioning and technologies for proton therapy,” Bonner says. But the actual treatment takes roughly 30 minutes, depending on the case. With the arrival of the cyclotron, all the major equipment is now in the facility. “It just needs to be assembled, and then we’ll conduct several months of testing,” Bonner says. He is aware of many patients in the surrounding area who have sought proton therapy elsewhere, such as in Jacksonville, Florida, and at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Tennessee. They travel hundreds of miles for six weeks or more to gain access to this cancer treatment. “This is terrific for the medical community,” Bonner says about the Proton
UAB Patient First in Alabama, continued from page 23
DBS is not the only technology that uses neurostimulation to treat epilepsy. VNS stimulates the vagus nerve in the neck and does not involve brain surgery. RNS uses leads implanted at the site of seizure onset, with the battery implanted in the top of the skull to produce electrical pulses when seizure activity is noted. “DBS is the newest technique, but all of these are options, depending on the needs of the patient,” Szaflarski said. It will take a few months for Horton to know just how well DBS is working for him. Along with his physicians, he will monitor the frequency and severity of his seizures over time. His initial reaction has been positive, and he feels as if the frequency of his seizures has lessened. “I’ve had a lot of restrictions in the past,” Horton said. “I’m hoping that DBS will allow me to start doing those things — get a job and a career, move out from my parents. This is a good start.” Crews used a crane to install the cyclotron.
International at UAB facility. The initiative will also allow UAB to be involved in clinical research studies on the use of proton therapy, to discover the full utility of the therapy and produce best practice parameters on its use.
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Baskin Named President of SBM Monica L. Baskin, PhD has been selected president-elect of the Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM). Baskin is a professor in the Division of Preventive Medicine at UAB, and in 2016, was Monica L. Baskin, PhD named inaugural vice chair for Culture and Diversity for the UAB School of Medicine. Her research focuses on minority health and health disparities, community-based participatory approaches, and the intersection of health and place, as well as culturally relevant behavioral interventions for cancer and obesity. Baskin is the recipient of numerous research grants, including a nationally recognized NIH-funded research program to reduce health disparities through community-based research. Her research has shed light on numerous aspects of the effects of social determinants of health — race, class, gender and other factors — in changing health outcomes for disadvantaged communities. Baskin also serves as associate director for Community Outreach and Engagement at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB. Baskin has been a member of SBM for more than 15 years and has served in a variety of functions within the society.
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24 • MAY 2019
Birmingham Medical News
Birmingham Medical News May 2019