Check out the latest news about proton therapy: this week, find out how this state-of-the-art treatment modality is giving young patients the chance in life they deserve.
LEO THE LION FLIES HOME FOR WELCOME PARTY
Leo Bermejo, a brave 4-year-old who underwent 4 surgeries on his brain tumor at the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in the UK, has just finished his 31 sessions of proton therapy in Oklahoma and is on way home to Spain.
On the 7th of May, supporters of Leo the Lion will gather in Vera, Almeria for a welcome home party. His mom Karen said: “Everything has been like a whirlwind over the last few months and things have progressed so quickly. Leo has proven to us all yet again that he is not ready to give up and he still continues to give us all a smile that lightens up people’s lives.” She went on to praise Team Leo who helped raised thousands of euros to fund his specialist treatment and give him the chance in life he deserves, and offered a big ‘thank you’ to the anonymous donor who paid the balance to reach the fund’s target. Karen told how happy it makes her to share every step of Leo’s journey, knowing it has brought people together, changed people’s mentality of life, and made people realize that the little silly things in life do not really matter anymore, odds can be defeated, living life to the fullest is the most important thing in the world. “I feel like we have also learned some lessons ourselves and who are our true friends through the good and bad times, people who have stuck by and supported us no matter what,” she said. You can follow Leo’s journey on the fund’s new Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/leothelionsfight/
SUCCESSFUL CANCER THERAPY FOR BRAVE LOGAN
Logan Sellers, a brave eight year-old from Talybont who spent 10 weeks in America receiving proton therapy for a cancerous eye tumor, is now getting back to his happy cheeky self.
Logan received the good news this week that his tumor is no longer cancerous after 10 weeks of proton therapy in Jacksonville, Florida, in December. The schoolboy, his twin sister Francheska and their father James travelled to America last November after Logan was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) in the summer. He initially started chemotherapy at Manchester Children’s Hospital before travelling thousands of miles for proton therapy. Now that his treatment is complete, doctors have confirmed that the tumor has shrunk and is no longer cancerous. His dad said: “It’s a relief and quite a shock to us all. He’ll have a chest X-Ray in six weeks’ time to make sure it hasn’t spread anywhere and providing everything is okay he’ll go down to six weekly visits and have an MRI scan every three months for a year or two to check for re-occurrence. At least for the time being Logan can return to being a normal child again.” Nearly £12,000 was raised for Logan and his family to live on whilst he received treatment in America after a gofundme page was set up by Logan’s step-grandmother. Logan’s mom said: “I’m really happy that Logan got the great news and I am incredibly grateful to all the doctors and nurses that have been involved with him over the last year. I just can’t wait to get back to swimming with Logan and hopefully he will stay cancer free.”
PROTON THERAPY CENTER IN BELGIUM
Leuven University Hospital (UZ Leuven) has started the construction of ParTICLe, the first center for proton therapy in Belgium.
Proton therapy precisely targets cancer tumors, preventing healthy tissue from being damaged, which is especially important for children and patients with a tumor close to certain vital organs such as the brain. According to Karin Haustermans, head of UZ Leuven’s radiotherapy-oncology department, the advance of proton therapy doesn’t mean the end of the use of other cancer treatments like chemotherapy. “The focus for the future lies in multidisciplinary collaboration, with combined therapies,” she said. Because proton therapy requires a particle accelerator to produce proton beams, the center will be housed in two underground facilities made of concrete. Two facilities will be constructed: one for the treatment of patients and one for research. The project is the result of a cooperation among Flanders’ 4 university hospitals and Louvain’s Saint-Luc. The total cost is €45 million, of which the government of Flanders is contributing €5 million. UZ Leuven and the University of Leuven are covering most of the rest of the cost. The center should be ready in 2019.