How do proton beams destroy cancer cells?
When protons interact with electrons in the atoms of cancer cells, they impart energy to the electrons, causing them to leave the atom and undergo a series of interactions (ionizing events) that result in damage to the DNA of the cancer cell. Damaging the DNA destroys specific cell functions, which include the ability to divide or proliferate. A cancer cell’s ability to repair molecular injury is frequently inferior to that of cells in normal tissues. As a result, cancer cells accumulate permanent damage and subsequent cell death occurs. As the cell dies, so does the tumor.