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SCIENCE IN THE NEWS DAILY

Proton Beams vs. Radiation

from the Boston Globe (Registration Required)

Massachusetts General Hospital in the next few weeks will launch a large, long-awaited test of whether a controversial cutting-edge proton beam therapy is more effective than standard radiation treatment for prostate cancer. Proton beam therapy, a targeted and controlled way to administer radiation to a tumor, has become a flashpoint in the debate over health care reform.

The expensive therapy is being used across the country and in some cases advertised directly to the general public before it has been deemed superior to standard radiation treatment, which costs about half as much. For years, doctors and federal health agencies have called for a scientific study like the one led by Mass. General, which will enroll its first patients by early June.

The five-year study will take place at a half-dozen centers across the country, including the University of Pennsylvania.

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