Experts Agree: Proton Therapy is an Excellent Choice for Treating Pediatric Cancers

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The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), the world’s premier organization in Radiation Oncology, states that “solid tumors in children are considered among the highest priority for proton therapy”in its Model Policy.  Based on this prioritization, a group of 24 internationally recognized leaders in the various specialties in oncology, convened in 2015 to define proton therapy’s role in pediatric cancers, identify which cases yield the most benefit from a limited resource, and set priorities for future development in the field.

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Latest research shows benefit of proton therapy for children with head and neck cancer

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Thousands of cancer patients have and could benefit from proton therapy, and children definitely top the list.

This week, exciting news has emerged from the renowned Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia confirming that proton therapy effectively treats pediatric cancers of the head and neck and reduces the side effects often experience with conventional radiation treatment.

It’s one more step toward growing and full recognition of proton therapy in the medical community as a state-of-the-art treatment option for cancer. (more…)

Child with rare cancer seeks proton therapy

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Even as the lump on Lucas Jones’s lower abdomen did not respond to antibiotics and grew at an alarming rate, his parents didn’t imagine cancer.

“It was a shock,” said Robert Jones, eight-year-old Lucas’s father and son of Knoxville music store owner Bill Jones. (more…)

Proton therapy showcased on Ellen

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Julie Kramer, famous for her appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show last year after being diagnosed with stage 4 synovial sarcoma, returned to the show this week. There she announced she was cancer free following proton therapy treatment. Proton therapy is an ideal treatment option for sarcoma because, when using traditional radiation, the location of these cancers often results in undesirable side effects to important organs such as brain, heart and lungs. Provision Center for Proton Therapy offers proton therapy treatments for both adults and children.

First Pediatric Patient Completes Treatment

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We are blessed to have celebrated many milestones here at Provision Center for Proton Therapy.  Just before Thanksgiving, our first pediatric patient graduated from treatment.

Here’s an excerpt from The News Sentinel article by Carly Harrington:

Dressed in a suit, 9-year-old Holden Doebler-Cortes walked out from his last cancer treatment on Wednesday and rang the “victory bell.”

Holden, diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2012, is the first pediatric patient to receive and complete proton therapy treatment at the Provision Center for Proton Therapy in the Dowell Springs Business Park off Middlebrook Pike.

After doing their own research, mother Shanna Jones said the family decided to pursue proton therapy treatment after the tumor began to progress. They have been making weekly trips from Gray, Tenn., to Knoxville, and Holden received 28 treatments over the past five and half weeks.

Jones called the experience “phenomenal.” Her son, she said, has seen no side effects including no nausea, vomiting or hair loss.

Read the full article here.

 

Dr. Matt Ladra Discusses Proton Therapy and Pediatric Cancer

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WVLT’s Kelli Parker interviews Provision Center for Proton Therapy’s Dr. Matt Ladra, Director of Pediatric Services, about the benefit of proton therapy for certain types of childhood cancers.

Proton therapy has been used for more than 30 years to treat children.  Proton therapy is most commonly used in pediatric tumors of the brain and spine, such as medulloblastoma, ependymoma, germ cell tumors, and low grade gliomas, but it can be beneficial in any tumor that arises in close proximity to vital structures like the heart, lung, kidneys, and reproductive organs.  The Provision Center for Proton Therapy is the first proton center to open in Tennessee and will join the University of Florida Proton Institute as the only two centers in the southeast treating pediatric patients.

Dr. Matt Ladra Discusses Pediatric Cancers & Proton Therapy

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September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.   Matt Ladra, MD, Pediatric Radiation Oncologist and Director of Pediatric Services, discusses the benefits of treating certain pediatric cancers with proton beam therapy.

Each year in the US there are more than 10,000 new cases of pediatric cancer, and roughly 1/3 of these children will require radiation therapy.  Radiation is an extremely effective form of treatment and in many cases provides the only option for cure.  This is especially true for tumors that arise from the bones, muscles, and organs of children, termed “solid tumor cancers.”   Unfortunately, radiation can inhibit the normal growth and development of the uninvolved areas surrounding these tumors, and therefore minimizing the amount of excess radiation delivered is of the utmost importance to pediatric radiation oncologists.

Proton therapy is a wonderful tool for treating children in whom radiation therapy is indicated.  The physical properties of protons significantly reduce the radiation dose delivered to healthy tissue and organs, often by 2-3 times what would be delivered with conventional radiation.   Since the brains and bodies of children are still developing and growing, this translates into fewer long-term side effects and an improved quality of life moving forward after treatment.  With advances in surgical techniques, chemotherapy, and radiation delivery, close to 70% of all children with solid tumor cancers will be long-term survivors.  Therefore, the incorporation of techniques that can minimize side effects, such as proton therapy, into pediatric cancer treatment is now more important than ever.

Proton therapy has been used for more than 30 years to treat children.  Previously, proton therapy had only available in a small number of institutions due to the high cost of building and maintaining a center and the difficulty in managing the technology.  In the last 10 years, improved proton technology and reduced costs have let to an emergence of new proton centers all over the country.  Whereas in 2004 there were only three open centers in the US, today there are currently 14 open centers and many more opening in the near future.  Proton therapy is most commonly used in pediatric tumors of the brain and spine, such as medulloblastoma, ependymoma, germ cell tumors, and low grade gliomas, but it can be beneficial in any tumor that arises in close proximity to vital structures like the heart, lung, kidneys, and reproductive organs.  The Provision Center for Proton Therapy is the first proton center to open in Tennessee and will join the University of Florida Proton Institute as the only two centers in the southeast treating pediatric patients.

 

Matt Ladra is a Radiation Oncologist and Director of Pediatric Services