Andrew K. Lee, MD, has been named Medical Director of the Texas Center for Proton Therapy. Dr. Lee launched proton therapy treatment at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center almost 9 years ago, treating the facility’s first proton therapy patient in 2006. In his new role, Dr. Lee will lead North Texas’ first facility offering next-generation proton therapy treatment technology.
The new proton therapy center is a collaboration of Texas Oncology, The US Oncology Network, McKesson Specialty Health, and Baylor Health Enterprises and is expected to treat its first patients in late 2015.
Step Forward in Cancer Care
“Dr. Lee is one of the finest, most experienced, and committed cancer physicians in oncology today. Combining his outstanding clinical skills and expertise with the most advanced proton therapy technology available is a major step forward in cancer care in Texas,” said R. Steven Paulson, MD, Chairman and President of Texas Oncology.
“In bringing the most up-to-date proton technology to North Texas, the leadership of Texas Oncology and its collaborators continue to demonstrate their commitment to enhancing the care of cancer patients, in this region and beyond. I am excited to join the team and contribute to the outstanding vision of this organization,” said Dr. Lee. “Proton therapy not only saves lives, but it reduces side effects, which significantly improves the quality of life for cancer survivors.”
Dr. Lee joins the Texas Center for Proton Therapy following almost 14 years at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he pioneered many firsts in the field of proton therapy, including treating the first patient, serving as the first and founding Director of the Program for Advanced Technology, and serving as the Medical Director of the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center. Dr. Lee was one of the first physicians to treat patients with pencil-beam scanning, which enables greater accuracy in tumor treatments. He also pioneered the use of fiducial markers and image-guidance at MD Anderson, to improve tumor localization and optimize the accuracy of proton therapy.
Dr. Lee also served as the first Program Director of the MD Anderson Cancer Center Proton Fellowship. He was recently recognized at MD Anderson as the first radiation oncologist to receive the coveted University Cancer Foundation Faculty Achievement Award in Patient Care.
Dr. Lee is board certified in radiation oncology, specializing in prostate and other genitourinary cancers. He earned his medical degree at the University of Minnesota Medical School and completed his residency in radiation oncology at Harvard Medical School–Joint Center for Radiation Therapy. He also earned a Master of Public Health degree with an emphasis on clinical effectiveness from the Harvard School of Public Health. He has coauthored more than 100 peer-reviewed articles, abstracts, and book chapters on his research.
“Our goal at the Texas Center for Proton Therapy is to create more cancer survivors with renowned medical expertise, advanced technology, and the compassionate, personalized care for which Texas Oncology is known,” said Gary Barlow, Director of the Texas Center for Proton Therapy. “Having a recognized leader and brilliant physician such as Dr. Lee now heading our medical team will benefit each and every patient who enters our facility.”
About the Texas Center for Proton Therapy
The 63,000 square foot facility will feature an advanced fixed beam treatment room and two isocentric gantry treatment rooms, each containing a 30-foot tall, 110-ton machine that rotates 360 degrees, to enable the most accurate positioning of the proton beams on patient tumors. Physicists currently are meticulously calibrating the proton beam equipment, anchored by a 220-ton cyclotron, to submillimeter accuracy, in preparation for treating its first patients later this year.
The new center has been designed to create a positive, supportive treatment experience. Patients undergoing proton therapy will have access to on-site laboratory services and the newest imaging technology. ■