CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Each day, 43 children are diagnosed with cancer and 12% of those children do not survive, according to Cure Search for Children’s Cancer.
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital is doing everything they can to help lower these numbers.
The Cincinnati Children’s Health Proton Therapy Center has begun the world’s first clinical trial of flash radiation therapy for cancer. The center is the only one in the world with the necessary equipment to do the research.
Flash is a new mode of radiation therapy that can be delivered to a patient in as little as a single session that lasts less than one second.
“It’s been found in experiments that have been done over the last several years, particularly in animals,” said Medical Director of the Proton Therapy Center Dr. John Breneman. “If we can increase the rate at which we give the radiation which normally we give at a thousand times faster than what we do conventionally, the effects on the tumor continue to be what we want to be but the normal side effects on the tissue are less.”
Meaning, side effects such as the ability to learn or certain memory functions.
This potentially opens a lot of opportunities to be more aggressive in treating certain cancers and possibly increasing the cure rates in some of them.
“The excitement is that first Cincinnati has been at the forefront of developing some of the background and science behind the flash effects and now that we have a team here that is comprised of physicists and engineers and scientists that have all come together to be able to do this trial,” said Dr. Breneman.
A cyclotron is used to generate the proton radiation.
It’s a 90-ton piece of iron that accelerates protons to a third of the speed of light and ultimately kills tumors.
“Seeing if by using this flash radiation the side effects will be enough less where we can really escalate the aggressiveness of the treatment and perhaps make a dent in some of these kids that otherwise don’t do well,” said Dr. Breneman.
Right now, doctors will only be using it on those who have tumors spreading to their bones, specifically their arms or legs.
“Assuming this continues to do well, what we’d like to do is start using it for patients who conventional treatments aren’t successful,” said Dr. Breneman.
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