John C. Breneman, M.D., medical director of the Cincinnati Children's/UC Health Proton Therapy Center, and the principal investigator of the FAST-01 trial, explains FLASH therapy and details on the trial. This study is testing the use of a single FLASH proton therapy session, rather than weeks of fractionated doses.
FLASH and hypo fractionated therapy have been among the hottest topics in radiation oncology. The premise of FLASH is to deliver extremely high doses of radiation to a tumor in one, short dose. Lab testing has shown this actually has a healthy tissue sparing capability and may help in reducing collateral damage.
If this and other trials show benefit and improved outcomes from FLASH, it is possible this may become the primary treatment method for many cancers in the years to come. Reducing therapy to one treatment session also would open up much more time for proton centers so many more patients could be treated. It also would be a significant time and cost savings for patients and their families, who would not be required to stay at nearby hotels for extended stays during their course of treatment.
Cincinnati Children's/UC Health Proton Therapy Center announced the completion of enrollment in FAST-01 (FeAsibility Study of FLASH Radiotherapy for the Treatment of Symptomatic Bone Metastases) in October. This is the first human clinical trial of FLASH therapy, which centered on patients with metastases in arms and legs to avoid irradiating critical structures. If this trials shows benefits and low toxicity, followup studies will attempt more complex treatments in other parts of the body.
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