Proton Precision

December 7, 2015

New Proton Therapy Center set to debut at UH Seidman Cancer Center

Innovations in Cancer - Fall 2015 - View Full PDF

DAVID MANSUR, MD

Division Chief, Radiation Oncology, UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Radiation Oncology, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Patients at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center will soon have access to the distinct dosimetric advantages of proton therapy, thanks to the hospital’s new Proton Therapy Center, scheduled to open in summer 2016. Expected to be the first in Ohio and regionally, the Proton Therapy Center will accommodate patients from a multistate region.

While traditional proton therapy systems cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build and can be as large as a football field, the compact, gantry-mounted design of the Mevion S250 superconducting synchrocyclotron accelerator being built at

UH Seidman Cancer Center requires less space, fewer staff
and significantly less energy to operate, making it possible for construction to occur on the UH campus. This, in turn, grants easy access to the center by the pediatric, adolescent and young adult cancer patients at the adjacent UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital – the patients likely to benefit most from proton therapy.

“Proton therapy is uniquely suited for treating pediatric and young adult population,” says David Mansur, MD, Director of Pediatric and Hematologic Radiation Oncology at UH Seidman Cancer Center, who is overseeing the launch of the Proton Therapy Center. “It eliminates a lot of unnecessary low and intermediate doses, which is especially significant for pediatric patients, many of whom have curable malignancies.”

 

An advanced form of radiation therapy, proton therapy targets tumors more directly and spares much of the surrounding tissue from the side effects of radiation. This targeted therapy can provide advantages for treatment of certain tumors, such as those in the base of the skull and in the head and neck. It is also being used in treatment of left-sided breast cancer, as the proton beam reduces radiation to the heart, potentially reducing the risk of heart disease in the years following treatment.

With greater power and precision, however, comes an enhanced focus on patient selection and risk management. “Proton therapy is a more unforgiving treatment, says Dr.

Mansur. “With proton therapy, changes in density and tumor motion have a greater potential to introduce uncertainty in the radiation dose than in photon beam cases. We will be exercising caution in proper selection of patients who will benefit the most.”

For patients, the differences between traditional radiation therapy and proton therapy are largely invisible. Proton therapy may minimize typical radiation therapy side effects, but patients typically have the same number of treatments.

Participation in clinical trials is expected to be an important component of care for patients treated with proton therapy at UH Seidman Cancer Center. A registry will track outcomes, and the vast majority of patients will be enrolled in a clinical trial.

Dr. Mansur says he’s looking forward to the enhanced treatment options the Proton Therapy Center will offer his pediatric patients, as well as the convenient way they’ll be able to access this innovative care.

“UH Seidman Cancer Center’s Proton Therapy Center will be located on the same campus as a nationally ranked children’s hospital,” he says. “It’s one of the only places in the country to achieve that distinction.”

For more information about our new Proton Therapy Center, contact David.Mansur@UHhospitals.org.

 

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