Weekly Web Review – Week 46

Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is helping children all over the world fight against aggressive cancer.

 

Help 10-year-old get cancer treatment in America

 

Mikey Wells, 10, has been fighting a brain tumor for nearly three years. His family is hoping to raise £10,000 so they can be with him when he goes to America for potentially life-saving treatment.

More than half the cash needed for Mikey Wells’ family to be with him during his treatment in America has been raised. Mikey was diagnosed with a tumor wrapped around his brain stem just days before Christmas 2011. Despite several surgeries and rounds of chemotherapy, the tumor is still growing and Mikey is  running out of options.

If the tumor doesn’t respond to the latest chemotherapy drug, Mikey has been referred for Proton Therapy in America and his family are raising the funds to pay for them to go out there with him. « I don’t want him to give up hope as he hasn’t got his family there. », his mom said. They have raised almost £6,000 of the £10,000 target. Anyone who would like to make a donation can go to http://www.gofundme.com/MikeyWells.

 

Source : http://www.northantstelegraph.co.uk/news/top-stories/help-wellingborough-boy-with-appeal-to-get-family-to-america-1-6403327

 

 

 

Family selling their home to pay for cancer treatment

Frankie-Rose Lea is just seven years old, but she has been given just weeks to live after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. Experts have told her parents the only thing that can save her is travelling to America for proton beam therapy.

However, as applying for proton beam therapy on the NHS could take eight weeks and as NHS doctors advised against it, Frankie-Rose’s parents need £110,000 to pay for the life-saving treatment of their daughter. The desperate couple have set up a fundraising page, which has already raised £50,000 in just three days, but they need to find the rest of the money fast as their daughter might not make it until Christmas. They have even put their three-bedroom home in south east London on the market and are prepared to be homeless if it saves Frankie-Rose.

Since she started chemotherapy in August, her tumor has tripled in size and spread to her spine.”We are desperate. We will live in a box if we need to as long as we are together. What choice do we have ? If we wait for NHS funding it will probably be too late”, her mom said.

“It would be nice to have a home to come back to after America, but nothing is more important than saving Frankie.”

 

Source : http://www.itv.com/news/2014-11-15/family-sell-house-to-pay-for-daughters-cancer-treatment/

 

4-year-old preparing for proton therapy

Proton therapy is an alternative treatment modality to traditional radiation allowing less damage to healthy organs and reducing significantly the duration of treatment. That is why it is the best option for 4-year-old Colt Moore.

Young Colt was diagnosed with nodular ganglioneuroblastoma, a rare form of cancer that affects children and that is extremely hard to treat. According to the American Cancer Institute, 700 new cases of neuroblastoma are reported each year.

« On Oct. 3, he had his first surgery, which was 9 ½ hours long », his mom said. « He also underwent five rounds of chemo total. The last four being very aggressive. » Unfortunately, this kind of tumor usually does not respond to chemotherapy, which is why Colt needs proton therapy.

In June, Mayo Clinic will open its Proton Beam Therapy clinic in Rochester. It will help families throughout the Upper Midwest stay closer to home. For now, the Moore’s will travel to Chicago for treatment. A fundraiser to help pay for the Moore’s medical and travel needs is scheduled on Nov. 15.

 

Source : http://kstp.com/news/stories/S3619193.shtml

Weekly Web Review – Week 45

Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is helping more and more families win cancer over.

 

Charlotte is back home after PT abroad

Charlotte Watson, a 4-year-old girl from Stanley, UK is back home from seven weeks of pioneering cancer treatment in America funded by the NHS.

After she was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in her right eye, Charlotte went to Florida, US with her family to undergo proton therapy.

Her uncle, Jonathan McKenzie, said: « The proton treatment was suitable for Charlotte’s condition because of the location of her tumor. Proton therapy only benefits approximately 1% of cancer sufferers, so Charlotte was really lucky ».

Jonathan has created a fund in her name called ‘Charlotte’s Challenge’, with the aim of raising awareness of proton therapy and raising a £10,000 for Clic Sargent, a charity that helps families in UK dealing with childhood cancers.

Charlotte has two more sessions of chemotherapy left, after that she will be given an MRI to assess the success of the treatment. « She has a good prognosis and her doctors are hoping she is almost out of the woods, just in time for Christmas. », Jonathan said.

 

Source : http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/11577394.Charlotte_due_back_home_after_proton_treatment_abroad/

 

Couple renews their vows after

Mark and Kerry Kelso, from the UK, celebrated their second wedding anniversary on October 31st. Their fight against cancer began just 6 months after they exchanged their vows, when a mass was found in Mark’s brain.

« I said to you then, I will be there every step of the way, » Kerry told Mark. She was also pregnant with their first child at the time. Earlier this year, Mark’s doctor sent him to the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute to undergo around 10 weeks of intense therapy. « I have been a bit tired some days, but it is absolutely amazing here. » Mark said.

To celebrate the end of his treatment and in honor of their second anniversary, the couple renewed their vows at the UFPTI in front of a crowd of their doctors, nurses, friends and even just other patients waiting for treatments. They couple reminded everyone what it means to truly be in love. Mark, Terry and their baby girl will be heading back to the United Kingdom next week

 

Source : http://www.firstcoastnews.com/story/news/local/2014/10/31/after-cancer-treatment-couple-renews-vows-in-halloween-fashion/18251593/

 

 

Fundraising to send young Mason to America

Mason Fountain’s family is setting out on a major fundraising drive to see the size of the 10-year-old’s brain tumor reduce once and for all.

Mason’s tumor was discovered in 2010 and it has since then taken its toll both physically and emotionally. « He has gone through so much in over the last four years, » his mom said.

Due to the position of the tumor, Mason has experienced mobility problems and became blind in one eye.

Mason recently completed a gruelling 52 weeks of chemotherapy, but early indications suggest that while the tumour is stable, it has not shrunk. Mason and his parents are now waiting on the results of an MRI scan to see what state it is in and if there is no improvement, it is hoped Mason will be able to get proton therapy in the USA. « Due to Mason relapsing twice already, me and my husband aren’t willing to sit back and wait for that to happen again, », his mom said.

The NHS will fund the proton therapy, but not the living costs, flights and other expenses for the rest of the family, who are currently trying to raise £10,000 to cover it. If you would like to make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com/masonsprotonfund

 

Source :

http://www.ipswichstar.co.uk/news/fundraising_drive_launched_as_family_of_mason_fountain_look_to_america_for_vital_proton_therapy_treatment_1_3837443

Weekly Web Review – Week 44

Weekly Web Review – Week 43
Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is achieving new milestones and helping more and more cancer patients fight against their disease.

A mom’s struggle against cancer
An Australian 31-year-old mother of four young children was recently diagnosed with an inoperable brain cancer and told she had a chance of only two years left to live.
Melissa Quinn was diagnosed in June this year with cancer in her brain and in the soft tissue under the birthmark on her left leg. “I had cancer two-and-a- half years ago in the uterus, so it wasn’t a huge surprise that it’s come back, but I am still overwhelmed and scared,” she said.
The Australian Medical Board is covering 90% of the costs for her to go to California to receive state-of-the-art proton radiation therapy, not yet available in Australia. However, Melissa and her family need to make up the money for the eight weeks of airfares, clinical fees and everyday expenses. “We’ve estimated we need to raise $20,000,” she said.
For this reason, the Mel Quinn Fundraiser Bowls Day will be held on Friday, November 21 at 3pm followed by a Country/Western night.

Source

1,000th patient at UFPTI
After recently treating its 1,000th cancer patient, the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute (UFPTI) has hosted its largest fundraising venture of the year, « The Gala of Hope », on October 24th.
The UFPTI is one of just eight proton facilities in the United States and the largest of its kind in the world. Opened in September 2010 with an initial focus of treating prostate cancer, the institute now treats head, neck and brain tumors, along with lung and breast cancers. Pediatric patients are also taken care of through a partnership with Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters. At full capacity, the UFPTI is expected to treat about 1,500 patients a year.
The institute recently signed an agreement with Strategic Alliance Holdings to serve patients from the Middle East and North Africa, as well as to provide training to physicians in Saudi Arabia.
The benefit for the proton therapy institute will directly support patient services to ease the costs of medical expenses : « To date, the Gala of Hope has raised over $1.5 million dollars to ensure that cancer patients’ have access to the medical treatment they need, » said Sarita Scott, a spokeswoman for the institute.

Source

Proton therapy in North Texas
When Menay Harris from North Texas was diagnosed with a tumor around her optic nerve in 2012, her doctors recommended proton therapy treatment. So she had to travel all the way to Houston to get it.
«  It was very difficult to leave Dallas for seven weeks and not have the support of friends or family, » said Menay, 45 . « It was a difficult journey that could have been eased by being able to stay at home. »
Dallas-Fort Worth is the nation’s largest metropolitan area without a proton therapy center. The nearest are M.D. Anderson or the ProCure Proton Therapy Center in Oklahoma City.
Now two centers are under construction in North Texas. The facility is scheduled to open by September 2017. By then, patients like Menay will have their pick of either.

Source

Weekly Web Review – Week 43

Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is covering new clinical indications and is improving the outcomes of breast and pediatric tumors. 

 

Proton APBI for breast cancer : quicker and less costly

Accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI) with proton therapy may benefit breast cancer patients more than whole breast irradiation (WBI) in terms of cost and duration, according to the University of Texas MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center.

These findings, titled « Initial Clinical Experience Using Protons for Accelerated Partial-Breast Irradiation: Longer-term Results » were presented at the annual meeting of the Particle Therapy Co-Operative Group by Dr. Valentina Ovalle and Eric A. Strom.

“It is often suggested that trials of proton APBI are irrelevant due to the modality’s presumed high cost, but our data shows that this perception is false,” said Dr. Ovalle. Her team of researchers conducted a cost analysis based on typical characteristics of breast cancer patients receiving 8 different types of partial and WBI therapies (representing 98% of treatment options open to these patients).

“The findings counter the presumption that proton APBI is so expensive that even excellent clinical results would be immaterial. If the payment barrier for proton therapy is removed so that current and future research can proceed, the outcomes may ultimately benefit patients, physicians and insurers: better treatments at lower costs.”, said Dr. Ovalle. These benefits would be welcomed by the nearly 250,000 patients diagnosed with invasive breast cancer annually.

 

Source : http://radiationtherapynews.com/2014/10/29/breast-cancer-patients-benefit-from-proton-apbi-quicker-and-less-costly/

 

More children treated with PT

The number of children suffering from brain and spinal cancers who were treated with proton therapy in the U.S. rose to 36% since 2010, according to a study released on October 28, 2014 at the first annual meeting of the PTCOG.

The study, called « Pediatric Proton Therapy in the United States: Patterns of Care », reveals that the number of children treated at U.S. proton therapy centers continues to rise each year.

Proton therapy offers tremendous advantages in treating certain pediatric cancers compared to conventional radiation, which has been associated with long-term neurocognitive deficits. As it uses high speed particles that can be more precisely conformed to the tumor, PT allows for a  decreased radiation dose outside the tumor, which is especially critical for children since the risk of secondary, radiation-induced tumors may reach 25% in long term survivors treated with conventional radiotherapy.

According to the survey, in 2013, the average pediatric proton patient was less than 10 years old, with a curable brain tumor or axial sarcoma. At 3 of the 4 largest pediatric programs, medulloblastoma was the most common tumor treated. The survey reports that 722 children and adolescents were treated with proton radiation at eleven proton therapy centers in the U.S. in 2013. Of those, 22% of the patients originated outside the U.S.

 

Source : http://news.gnom.es/pr/study-reveals-36-increase-in-children-treated-at-us-proton-centers

 

New hope for recurrent breast cancer patients

In 2014, more than 200,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the United States, and about 40,000 of them will die, according to the American Cancer Society.

Robin Baird was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001. She thought it was over after chemotherapy and radiation, but she found a new lump in 2003. After another course of treatment, the cancer came back in 2005. As it was wrapped around her artery and nerves, radiation therapy was ruled out. The same happened again in 2007, and in 2011. It was managed with medication until 2013, when it started to grow. At this point, Robin’s doctors had exhausted all surgical and chemotherapy options.

It was at this time that she was introduced to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Proton Therapy, which provides patients with an advanced and highly precise form of radiation treatment that can be particularly effective in cancers located on or near vital organs, such as the heart in the case of left breast cancer.

While undergoing treatment, Robin found refuge at SCCA Proton Therapy, A ProCure Center. She did experience some painful side-effects due to nerve damage from her previous treatments, but she was able to complete all proton therapy treatments and her outlook is good. Robin now seeks to share her experience of proton therapy with others.

 

Source : http://www.newswise.com/articles/proton-therapy-offers-hope-to-recurrent-breast-cancer-patient

Study looks at value vs. cost in proton and X-ray therapy delivery

A proof of concept study from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center shows that the episodic cost of care using intensity modulated proton therapy (IMPT) in advanced-stage head and neck cancer is less than that of intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), also known as X-ray or photon therapy.

The study, “Defining the Value of Proton Therapy,” published in Oncology Payers, detailed findings concerning two patients with oropharyngeal cancer. The cost for one patient’s daily IMPT treatment was 2.8 times higher than for the other patient’s daily treatment with IMRT. However, the IMRT patient took more time to begin therapy, which led to higher costs associated with re-consultation and re-imaging. As a result, the method used to measure the costs, what’s called time-driven activity-based costing (TDABC), indicated a 20 percent higher cost from time of initial consultation to the end of IMRT, compared with IMPT.

“We wanted to examine in a very structured way how those processes are done to make sure we’re driving efficiency and quality, and decreasing unnecessary individual encounter costs while still ensuring patients receive high-quality care,” says Steven J. Frank, M.D., medical director, MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center; associate professor of radiation oncology; and senior study author.

TDABC is a costing model that relates the measurement of health care costs to time — including the time
required to perform each medical service, and the level and salary of the hospital staff performing the service. It’s a practice that is widely used in the business world, but not routinely in the U.S. health care industry.

In addition to patient encounter time, the type of cancer treatment also factors heavily into costs — particularly long-term costs — as well as into patient quality of life.

“In this study, we’ve been able to demonstrate that eliminating unnecessary radiation can translate into a reduction in overall cost to the health care system,” says Dr. Frank. “With protons, we can reduce the episodic cost of care by eliminating toxicities that come from X-rays, which result in feeding tube placements, emergency room visits and hospitalizations.”

A larger ongoing study is currently recruiting patients with head and neck cancer.  With a goal of 360 patients, the study currently has about 60 people enrolled. Both patients in the small proof of concept study had advanced-stage oropharyngeal cancer.

“Most patients with oropharyngeal cancer are younger adults with a very curable disease.  The side-effects from radiation treatment can affect cancer patients for up to 30 or 40 years,” says Dr. Frank. “People with this type of cancer often have young families, they work, and they want to continue to work during treatment and after. When people get X-ray radiation on their tongues, they lose their ability to taste food, they develop painful mouth ulcers and require narcotics, and they can lack the motivation to eat or drink. Lack of caloric intake and weight loss ensue, and feeding tubes are often placed to supplement their nutrition. These patients are struggling during treatment, and protons can help reduce their suffering.”

Dr. Frank uses the example of getting dental X-rays at the dentist’s office. What if the dentist said they were going to take 10 additional X-rays that were not needed? Most people would resist.  Radiation exposure from IMRT can put an additional 25 gray (a measurement of the dose of radiation absorbed by the body) into the mouth and tongue when treating oropharyngeal tumors. “Twenty-five gray is equivalent to 5 million dental oral x-rays,” says Dr. Frank. “This unnecessary radiation exposure to the oral cavity and tongue from IMRT can be eliminated with proton therapy.”

In the ongoing trial, TDABC costs will be collected on each patient to help define value. “The cost of delivering care is something many hospital systems have difficulty capturing,” says Dr. Frank. “It is difficult to improve quality systems without knowing how your costs are generated. What happens then is that pricing becomes relatively arbitrary, based on what the reimbursement structure is. So we start valuing things based on the way they’re priced instead of the value they offer.”

Dr. Frank regards protons as one more step in the advancement of radiation therapy. “Over time, we have truly improved the lives of our patients and radiation oncology in general, through these advancements in technology,” he says. “We should regard advanced technology as a way to make us more efficient, provide better care and be innovative. Innovation may cost more in the short term, but may bring inherent value and improve outcomes.

“We aim to define the value of proton therapy associated with the episodic cost of care in order to demonstrate a reduction in overall costs to the health care system.”

Weekly Web Review – Week 43

Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is achieving new milestones and helping more and more cancer patients fight against their disease.

 

A mom’s struggle against cancer

An Australian 31-year-old mother of four young children was recently diagnosed with an inoperable brain cancer and told she had a chance of only two years left to live.

Melissa Quinn was diagnosed in June this year with cancer in her brain and in the soft tissue under the birthmark on her left leg. “I had cancer two-and-a- half years ago in the uterus, so it wasn’t a huge surprise that it’s come back, but I am still overwhelmed and scared,” she said.

The Australian Medical Board is covering 90% of the costs for her to go to California to receive state-of-the-art proton radiation therapy, not yet available in Australia. However, Melissa and her family need to make up the money for the eight weeks of airfares, clinical fees and everyday expenses. “We’ve estimated we need to raise $20,000,” she said.

For this reason, the Mel Quinn Fundraiser Bowls Day will be held on Friday, November 21 at 3pm followed by a Country/Western night.

 

Source : http://www.northernstar.com.au/news/mums-cancer-struggle/2425000/

 

 

1,000th patient at UFPTI

After recently treating its 1,000th cancer patient, the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute (UFPTI) has hosted its largest fundraising venture of the year, « The Gala of Hope », on October 24th.

The UFPTI is one of just eight proton facilities in the United States and the largest of its kind in the world. Opened in September 2010 with an initial focus of treating prostate cancer, the institute now treats head, neck and brain tumors, along with lung and breast cancers. Pediatric patients are also taken care of through a partnership with Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters. At full capacity, the UFPTI is expected to treat about 1,500 patients a year.

The institute recently signed an agreement with Strategic Alliance Holdings to serve patients from the Middle East and North Africa, as well as to provide training to physicians in Saudi Arabia.

The benefit for the proton therapy institute will directly support patient services to ease the costs of medical expenses : « To date, the Gala of Hope has raised over $1.5 million dollars to ensure that cancer patients’ have access to the medical treatment they need, » said Sarita Scott, a spokeswoman for the institute.

 

Source : http://www.dailypress.com/news/education/dp-nws-hu-gala-of-hope-preview-20141021,0,7248130.story

 

Proton therapy in North Texas

When Menay Harris from North Texas was diagnosed with a tumor around her optic nerve in 2012, her doctors recommended proton therapy treatment. So she had to travel all the way to Houston to get it.

«  It was very difficult to leave Dallas for seven weeks and not have the support of friends or family, » said Menay, 45 . « It was a difficult journey that could have been eased by being able to stay at home. »

Dallas-Fort Worth is the nation’s largest metropolitan area without a proton therapy center. The nearest are M.D. Anderson or the ProCure Proton Therapy Center in Oklahoma City.

Now two centers are under construction in North Texas. The facility is scheduled to open by September 2017. By then, patients like Menay will have their pick of either.

 

Source : http://assets.bizjournals.com/dallas/print-edition/2014/09/05/cover-story-proton-therapy-targets-north-texas.html