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AS PHYSICIANS AND PHYSICISTS continue to refine the clinical applications for charged particles, they can point to at least one notable success story: the treatment of acromegaly, a disorder that afflicts an estimated 250 persons in the United States each year.
Bernard Kliman, MD, reported at the annual Endocrine Society meeting in Indianapolis that his group at Harvard Medical School, Boston, and the Harvard cyclotron has cured 479 (85.5%) of 560 patients with acromegaly or gigantism. Cure is defined as reducing growth hormone level to less than 5 μg/L (<5 ng/mL) and shrinking the soft tissue growth characteristic of the disease. (Bony growth induced by excess growth hormone must be surgically corrected.)
In 431 patients for whom they have 20 years of follow-up data, the recurrence rate of 1% is "superior to all other forms of therapy," Kliman, associate professor of medicine at Harvard, said in an interview. Medical texts
Raymond CA. Acromegaly Said to Respond to Proton Therapy. JAMA. 1988;259(6):788-793. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03720060004005