SOMERSET, N.J.--()--Until recently, pediatric cancer patients have had limited access to proton therapy, an FDA approved alternative to x-ray radiation therapy that causes less damage to healthy tissue and nearby organs and fewer side effects. In March, the first and only proton center in the New York/New Jersey metro region opened in Somerset, N.J. – and, earlier this year, the center completed treatment of its first pediatric patient.
“Because of safer, more targeted radiation therapy, there is hope. We don’t have to make trade-offs between treatment and long-term side effects.”
Liam was six months old when physicians discovered neuroblastoma, a malignant tumor that develops from nerve tissue, on his liver. Initially, he was treated with a combination of immunotherapy and chemotherapy and given a clean bill of health. Earlier this year, Liam’s neuroblastoma returned, this time presenting in the brain. His mother, Kristine, was told that Liam would need radiation therapy to the entire brain and spinal axis (also known as craniospinal irradiation) – and that this type of radiation may cause injury to the brain and to other vital organs of the body. Craniospinal irradiation is also routinely used for medulloblastoma, germ cell tumors and other pediatric tumors.
Kristine rejected this prognosis and learned about proton beam therapy as a way to minimize the risk of injury to the normal organs and minimize side effects. Today, Kristine has a burning platform. “I want parents of neuroblastoma patients to know that this diagnosis is not a death sentence,” Kristine said. “Because of safer, more targeted radiation therapy, there is hope. We don’t have to make trade-offs between treatment and long-term side effects.”
“Eighty percent of all kids diagnosed with pediatric cancer will be cured of their disease, so it is critical to minimize the long term consequences of cancer treatments,” said Dr. Oren Cahlon, director of ProCure’s pediatric oncology department. “The targeted nature of proton therapy reduces the risk of radiation-induced complications.”
Dr. Cahlon mentioned that the leading children’s hospitals in the United States use proton therapy over traditional radiation for the treatment of many pediatric tumors. Because the therapy is so targeted and minimizes collateral damage to surrounding growing and developing tissues, it is widely agreed that proton beam therapy is superior to traditional radiation for many pediatric cancer patients, he noted.
“The financial and patient services teams at ProCure N.J. took on all of the logistics and paperwork required for Liam to be treated at the center, taking a huge burden off of my family and me,” Kristine said. The center also found places for the family to stay during treatment through collaboration with the Ronald McDonald House.
For more information about proton therapy at ProCure Proton Therapy, visit www.procure.com/nj or call 877-887-5807.
About ProCure Treatment Centers, Inc.
ProCure Treatment Centers, Inc. is a privately held health care company dedicated to improving the lives of patients with cancer by increasing access to proton therapy. The company was founded in 2005 in Bloomington, Ind., and is the first to develop a network of proton therapy centers in cities across the United States. The ProCure Proton Therapy Center in Oklahoma City opened in July 2009, the CDH Proton Center, A ProCure Center, located in Warrenville, Ill., opened in October 2010 and the ProCure Proton Therapy Center in Somerset, N.J., opened in March 2012. ProCure’s fourth center is under construction in Seattle, Wash. (opening 2013) and others are in development. ProCure provides management leadership and a comprehensive approach for the design, construction, financing, staffing, training and day-to-day operations of proton therapy centers. ProCure’s solution reduces the time, cost and effort necessary to build and operate a facility. ProCure is advancing proton therapy through innovation and improvements in technology, and by providing training at the world’s only educational facility specializing in proton therapy. For more information, visit www.procure.com.