In Memoriam: James M. Slater, pioneer of proton therapy, transformed cancer treatment



James Slater, MD, 1929 – 2018. [Photo courtesy of Loma Linda University Health]

Jan 03, 2019  |  Loma Linda, California, United States

James M. Slater, MD, whose determination to improve the quality of life for patients undergoing cancer treatment inspired him to use proton therapy for patient care and to champion and oversee creation of the world’s first hospital-based proton treatment center at Loma Linda University Health, died Dec. 26. He was 89.

The James M. Slater, M.D. Proton Treatment and Research Center — which opened in 1990 — has since treated more than 18,000 patients from around the world, including foreign royalty, celebrities, and even an NBC news reporter who in 2008 chronicled his own battle with cancer and search for treatments.

When the Loma Linda University Medical Center Proton Treatment Center opened in 1990, it was the only place in the world to offer proton therapy for patient treatment and research in a hospital setting. It would remain the only hospital-based treatment center of its kind in the United States until 2003. In 2007, it was renamed the James M. Slater, M.D. Proton Treatment and Research Center in his honor.

Today, Slater’s second-eldest son, Jerry D. Slater, MD, is chair of the department of radiation medicine at Loma Linda University Health. 





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