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The one hundred honoree: Mass General Proton Engineering Staff

Profile in Medicine

The one hundred honoree: Mass General Proton Engineering Staff

Mass General Giving

The Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center at the Mass General Cancer Center uses energy from the protons of atoms to destroy cancer cells. Proton beam radiation is especially well-suited for tumors in children and irregularly-shaped or large tumors near vital organs in adults because a beam of proton radiation can be aimed very precisely at a tumor with little harm to surrounding tissues.

These extraordinarily sophisticated machines require highly trained staff working 24 hours a day, seven days a week to operate and maintain them. The Mass General Cancer Center’s proton engineering staff members include Steve Bradley, Bob Brett, Ethan Cascio, Norm Doe, Joe McCormack, Bob Mendelson, Eryk Nielsen, Larry O’Brien, Tim Shen, John Smith, Jeff Thai and Mao Zhou. Every day this team demonstrates their expertise, ingenuity and commitment to making sure they deliver timely and accurate treatments.

These talented engineers, led by Jay Flanz, readily stay overnight to troubleshoot any issues so that patients—some who travel from great distances and many with extremely challenging and urgent illnesses—can benefit from this advanced treatment without delay. This interdisciplinary team also collaborates with departments across the hospital to pioneer new and improved treatment modalities at the proton therapy center.

The Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center couldn’t run without this skilled staff, making them an invaluable part of a patient’s care team. Andrea Paciello, executive director of the Department of Radiation Oncology, says, “Even though they are the invisible ‘Oz’ behind the curtain, they are all deeply loyal to our mission and choose to dedicate their technical knowledge to Mass General because they know they are making an important impact on the lives and care of patients.”