By Alex DeMetrick

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Cancer tumors doctors couldn’t touch may soon become fair game.

Alex DeMetrick reports the University of Maryland will be one of the first East Coast medical center to offer cutting edge proton therapy.

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Inside the newest building at the University of Maryland Medical Center, technicians are working on some of the newest cancer technology–a proton therapy center.

Like a small scale linear accelerator, it’s still a city block long and designed to go after cancer tumors doctors can’t normally treat.

“It allows us to treat much larger tumors, much larger targets, much more complicated diseases. For example, head and neck cancer,” said Dr. Minesh Mehta, director of the University of Maryland Proton Therapy Center.

“Knock on wood. It’s been pretty good,” said Daryl Marciszewski, proton therapy patient.

Marciszewski traveled from Baltimore to Chicago for proton therapy. It was his only chance at stopping a brain tumor.

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“The goal is to keep the tumor dormant because there’s really no chemo for my particular tumor,” he said.

Daryl’s family joined him for the announcement that the first proton therapy center on the East Coast is coming to Baltimore. Animation shows how it will look when finished and how it works, channeling a pencil point beam of protons at a tumor.

Unlike standard radiation therapy, side effects are minimized because: “Protons actually stop right at the distinct edge, the far side of the tumor. So tissue beyond the tumor does not get any excess or unwanted radiation,” Dr. Mehta said.

The end result of all this high tech science is purely human.

“If I can see my kids  grow up and be a granddad one day, that’s my vision of the lotto. That means the world to me. And if I can do that with all this treatment and everything, that’s spectacular,” Marciszewski said.

The proton therapy center will open at the end of 2015. The cost is $200 million.

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