Florida’s Tampa General Hospital Cancer Institute expands radiation oncology program


Hannah Saunders


On January 13th, the Tampa General Hospital (TGH) Cancer Institute announced an expansion of its Radiation Oncology Program to include the addition of new cancer treatment technology and enhanced locations. TGH is also working in collaboration with the Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institutes to build the first proton therapy cancer center in the Tampa Bay region.

“As one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers, we are focused on driving innovation to deliver world-class, advanced treatment options to the Tampa Bay region and beyond,” Chief of TGH Cancer Institute Dr. Abraham Schwarzberg said. “Our Radiation Oncology enhancements, including our collaborative partnership to develop Tampa’s first proton therapy center, is an example of initiatives that bring the most advanced resources to our patients.”


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The expanded Radiation Oncology Program offers full radiation oncology services to treat all cancer types. The program offers cutting-edge radiation and therapies, such as the CyberKnife System, TrueBeam system, High-Dose-Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy, and radiopharmaceuticals, among others.

The TrueBeam system is an advanced, medical linear accelerator that is capable of fast and precise image-guided radiation therapy. 

“Our linear accelerator machine dramatically decreases treatment time from 30 minutes to two minutes while maintaining accuracy, precision and safety through enhanced low-dose imaging and motion compensation,” Deputy Director of TGH Cancer Institute Dr. Richard Tuli said.

By this summer, the CyberKnife S7 radiosurgery system, which is a non-invasive alternative to surgical treatment for cancerous and noncancerous tumors, will be installed on TGH’s main campus. 

HDR brachytherapy is a highly specialized cancer treatment that involves the careful and temporary placement of radioactive materials inside the body in direct contact with tumors. HDR brachytherapy allows for greater doses of radiation to be delivered safely, compared to external radiation, by lowering doses to surrounding non tumorous tissues and organs, and can be delivered in one to three treatments. 

The Proton Therapy Center will be 3-stories and 44,000 square-feet, located adjacent to downtown Tampa, in the academic medical center’s Medical and Research District. Proton therapy is proven to be effective and recommended therapy in treating a wide range of adults, with both cancerous and noncancerous tumors. 

“Through our partnership, we will have the opportunity to treat our patients with the most advanced form of cancer-fighting technology available to date,” Tuli said. “Proton therapy is a highly innovative and precise form of radiation treatment, which can be ideal when a cancerous tumor is close to a vital organ such as the heart, brain stem or the spinal cord.”

Proton therapy uses protons, or positively charged particles, as a replacement for x-rays during cancer treatment. A machine speeds up the protons, which creates high energy and allows the protons to travel to the desired depth within the body. The protons are able to provide a targeted radiation dose in the tumor. 

To continue making cancer care more accessible to those in the Tampa region, TGH Cancer Institute recently opened the Infusion Center at TGH Brandon Healthplex, where additional TrueBeam linear accelerators will be available in July. 

Last December TGH also announced that it earned its three-year accreditation from the Commission on Cancer, a quality program established by the American College of Surgeons. The accreditation ensures the cancer program and program activity documentations are in compliance with the standards.