Last month, a 33-year-old man from Leasburg, Missouri, receives a revolutionary form of highly accurate radiation treatment.
Steven Osborne has a rare type of cancer called chondrosarcoma at the base of his skull. He will be undergoing a 30- to 45-minute session each weekday for seven weeks at S. Lee Kling Proton Therapy Center at Washington University Medical Center. Patients eligible for the therapy at the center have cancer near vital organs such as the spine, brain, heart and eyes.
« Proton therapy is unique because it allows for very precise adjustments to the radiation beam, so we can precisely target tumors, » said Jeffrey Bradley, MD, director of the Proton Therapy Center. « It helps to minimize damage to surrounding tissue and is especially useful when treating growing children. For example, treatment of a brain tumor such as Osborne’s with proton therapy may be less likely to result in blindness or other complications », said Bradley.
A superconducting synchrocyclotron proton accelerator is a key component of the new proton therapy system. « Our team of Washington University radiation oncologists and physicists has been instrumental in developing treatment planning and quality-assurance processes for this technology, » Bradley said. « We’re now focused on using it to provide the best possible care for our patients. »
The S. Lee Kling Proton Therapy Center plans to treat 20 to 25 patients a day. Treatment typically will require daily 30-minute sessions for two months. The center will serve the Midwest. The next closest location offering proton therapy is 225 miles away.