Cincinnati Children’s/University of Cincinnati Medical Center Proton Therapy Center Open for Cancer Care

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and University of Cincinnati Medical Center are bringing the most advanced cancer care for pediatric and adult patients to the Greater Cincinnati area with the region’s first Proton Therapy Center.

This facility, located on the Cincinnati Children’s Liberty Campus, is the only one of its kind in the Tristate area and the second of its kind in all of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. It is also one of 23 proton centers in the U.S. which will treat patients from around the globe.

In addition to its advanced treatment options, the center is the only one in the world with a specialized gantry (radiation treatment room with a moveableproton beam) dedicated exclusively to cancer research. Cincinnati Children’s, the University of Cincinnati and UC Health researchers will work with colleagues in Israel, Germany and around the world to find ways to continually improve cancer care with proton therapy.

The organizations celebrated the official opening of the center during an event Monday, Aug. 8. The first patients are expected to be treated at the facility in September.

Proton therapy is a form of radiation treatment used for certain types of cancers and lymphomas. From the adult care perspective, this targeted treatment is specifically helpful in cancers of the brain, eyes, head and neck, lungs, prostate and spinal cord. A major advantage over traditional forms of radiotherapy is its ability to deliver radiation to a tumor area with remarkable precision, sparing healthy tissues.

“The opening of this facility is the culmination of almost a decade of conversations and planning, and we are excited to begin providing treatment to an average of 200 adult patients per year nationally and globally,” said Richard Lofgren, MD, president and CEO of UC Health. “This facility, together with the expertise of the faculty of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and Cincinnati Children’s, will give patients access to a level of cancer care available in only a handful of locations around the world.”

Proton therapy works by extracting positively charged protons from hydrogen gas and accelerating them through a cyclotron (a particle accelerator) up to nearly two-thirds of the speed of light. The protons are guided to the tumor site by magnetic and electrical fields. They carry just enough charge to reach a precise point in the tumor.

Research at the facility will include basic biological studies to better understand exactly how protons kill cancer cells; applied research and development for evaluating imaging methods, computer-targeting technologies and patient positioning techniques; and translational research to develop and refine other treatments that can augment proton therapy.

The research will be done in cooperation among Cincinnati Children’s, UC Medical Center, UC Physicians, the UC College of Medicine and Varian Medical Systems, the proton equipment manufacturer.

“The UC College of Medicine and university are further strengthened by our partnerships with UC Health and Cincinnati Children’s, as the physicians delivering patient care at these institutions we are proud to say are faculty members within the college and across the university,” says William Ball, MD, dean of UC’s College of Medicine. “The responsibilities go beyond providing the cutting-edge and state-of-the-art treatment to discovering novel scientific breakthroughs and advancing health care in our community, as well as educating future physicians and researchers to enhance the field of medicine.

“This facility, complete with the world’s only dedicated research gantry, is truly emblematic of this partnership and ways UC and it’s College of Medicine is working daily to make cancer a thing of the past and impact our community.”

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