Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment is helping children fight their disease and is becoming more and more available through the building of new centers each year.
Brave boy crossing the ocean for PT in the US
Guy Ryan, a brave 6-year-old boy from the UK, will head across the ocean this summer for experimental proton beam therapy on his large brain tumor.
Guy was diagnosed with pilocytic astrocytoma shortly after his first birthday. His mom said: “A few weeks before he turned one he was taken ill and would have a seizure or just lie on the floor and become unresponsive. His face also started turning blue. We were told he was having epileptic seizures and the diagnosis of the tumor came the following day.” Since then, the six-year-old boy has already had more than 20 operations and marathon bouts of chemotherapy. He is now preparing for a nine-week stay in the US to have proton beam therapy this summer but is dependent on the outcome of further surgery to try to remove some of the tumor at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital in May. The operation could be limited as the tumor is growing close to the brain stem and has several blood vessels running through it. Guy’s parents are now desperately fund-raising to cover the cost of Guy, his mom and grandma living in either Oklahoma or Jacksonville for almost two and a half months. His mom says Guy has remained cheerful despite his lengthy medical ordeal and spoke of her pride in how he has handled the difficult situation. To find out more or donate, visit www.gofundme.com/qpart3
UK to receive first 3 PT centers
The United Kingdom is to get its first three proton beam therapy centers, marking a significant breakthrough in the provision of cancer treatment. The centers will be available for National Health Service (NHS) patients from England, Scotland and Wales, medically-insured private patients and self-paying patients.
Cardiff-based Proton Partners International Ltd is to open the treatment centers in Cardiff, London and Northumberland by 2017. The first center – Cardiff – will be operational next year. Senior consultant at the European Institute of Oncology said : “This is an exciting and important development of the provision of cancer treatment in the U.K. As things stand, patients who can benefit from this treatment have to go abroad for treatment, often at great expense to the NHS. The creation of these centers will go a long way to ensuring the very best of treatment is available in the U.K.” In addition to state-of-the-art Proton Partners’ treatment services, the Cardiff center will provide conventional radiotherapy, chemotherapy and supportive care. This could then be offered through other centers. In the future, Proton Partners International intends to develop further proton therapy centers in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The government has announced that it will create two NHS proton beam therapy units, which will open in 2018. For more information: www.nhs.uk
Childhood Cancer and Proton Therapy
Children with tumors in the brain, head, neck, spinal cord, heart, lungs and other areas that are sensitive to radiation can benefit from treatment with proton therapy because oncologists can, with protons, focus the treatment directly to the tumor area.
Proton therapy is the safest, gentlest and most modern cancer treatment for childhood cancer. Treatment schedules vary in each case, but the majority of children are treated daily, Monday to Friday for five to six weeks. Each day of treatment can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours, depending on whether sedation/anaesthesia is required (as can be the case, especially for young patients that may otherwise move about during proton beam treatment). Compared with conventional radiotherapy, proton therapy can reduce the risk of IQ impairment, the risk of lung damage, and preserve fitness levels. The advantages of proton therapy for children are a higher chance of complete recovery and healthy development for children, a lower risk of tumor recurrence and a potentially lowered risk of secondary cancers later in life.