August 10, 2016 — Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and UC Health are celebrating the grand opening of the new Proton Therapy Center. Located at Cincinnati Children's Liberty Campus, the $120 million facility is one of the most advanced proton research and cancer treatment centers in the world. The first patients are expected to be treated in September.
"This important investment will transform cancer care for children and adults and generate a new wave of discovery," said Michael Fisher, president and CEO at Cincinnati Children's. "Proton is advanced cancer therapy. I am pleased it is now available to our pediatric patients with the most challenging types of cancer, underscoring our deep commitment to always provide the safest and most effective treatment options."
Proton therapy is a form of radiation treatment used for certain types of cancers. The medical procedure involves a type of particle therapy utilizing a beam of protons to blast diseased tissue with remarkable precision. It works by extracting positively charged protons from hydrogen gas and accelerating them through a cyclotron (a particle accelerator) up to nearly 2/3 the speed of light. The protons are guided to the tumor site by powerful magnetic and electrical fields. They carry just enough charge to reach a precise point in the tumor.
Traditional radiation treatment kills targeted cancer cells but can also damage surrounding healthy tissue. It's estimated as much as one-third of the radiation dose a patient receives can wind up deposited away from the targeted tumor. Proton therapy is expected to significantly reduce the risks because of its precision, allowing cancer survivors to have far fewer long-term consequences.
The types of cancer best treated by proton therapy include Hodgkin lymphoma, pediatric brain tumors, neuroblastoma and soft tissue sarcomas. In the adult population, the targeted treatment is specifically helpful in cancers of the brain, eyes, head, neck, lungs, prostate and spinal cord.
The center will have the world's only proton treatment gantry fully dedicated to research along several tracks including: basic biological research to better understand exactly how protons kill cancer cells; applied research and development for evaluating imaging methods, computer-targeting technologies and patient positioning techniques; and translational research to develop and refine other treatments that can augment proton therapy.
The research will be done in cooperation among Cincinnati Children's, UC Medical Center, the University of Cincinnati Physicians, the UC College of Medicine and Varian, the proton equipment manufacturer. Some collaborations will also involve research centers in Germany and Israel. More multi-institutional partnerships are likely.
The Proton Therapy Center features two treatment gantries, one research gantry and a shelled treatment bay for future expansion. One treatment gantry is devoted to pediatric patients and one to adult patients. The Center, located at Cincinnati Children's Liberty campus, will have separate and clearly-marked entrances for children and adults.
For more information: www.cincinnatichildrens.org