Proton Therapy to Treat Children with Tumors at St. Louis Children's Hospital

Author: St. Louis Children's Hospital

Siteman Cancer Center and St. Louis Children’s Hospital have added a breakthrough weapon to their arsenal in the battle against cancer. It really represents yet another step of how this medical center is continuing to sit on the leading edge of cancer therapy. The Kling Center for Proton Therapy at Barnes Jewish and St. Louis Children’s Hospital at Washington University is the only place within 200 miles patients can get cutting-edge proton therapy. It’s a different form of radiation that can blast a tumor without damaging healthy tissue and organs around it.

Traditional radiation passes through the tumor and can harm surrounding tissue. So proton therapy allows the ability to control the depth of the radiation and therefore tissues that are potentially in the path of conventional radiation therapy The proton therapy will allow exposure to those tissues to be minimized. Proton therapy is critical for people diagnosed with cancers of the head, neck, and spinal cord. And especially children. So one can envision, for example, if you had a tumor that was on, let say in the face or in the head, you could direct therapy to that site and minimize the exposure to the brain. That’s a great excitement for many sites, but especially in children because of their normal developing brain and the effects that radiation has on that. That doesn’t mean traditional radiation won’t still be used. A team of doctors will still work together to develop an individualized approach for every patient.

Some patients will get a mixture of X-rays and protons. Some patients will just be treated with protons. Some patients might have a four-week course of X-ray therapy and then protons will be used as a boost to the tumor. It depends on the tumor, where it’s located, what critical structures are around the tumor that we wanna miss with radiation. The Kling Center is only one of about a dozen proton facilities in the country, but it’s the first to generate protons and deliver them in the same room. Most other facilities are the size of a football field because the machine needed to generate the protons is massive and much more costly, but thanks to a partnership with Mevion medical systems, the Kling Center was built at a fraction of the cost and size, making it an easy fit on the medical campus. What’s different about this technology is the cyclotron, instead of being that large and occupying that much space, this one’s not much bigger than your kitchen table and its small enough that it can rotate around a room.

So this is the first proton facility where the cyclotron is moving at the time. So it’s gantry mounted meaning it can rotate around the room and that’s actually a first for this. A new technology enabled by improvement and computers and software It’s located just steps from the center for advance medicine and Barnes Jewish north parking garage. The Kling Center adds another important piece to the complex puzzle in the fight against cancer, but it won’t be the last at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and the Siteman Cancer Center in Washington University School of Medicine.

Proton Therapy to Treat Children with Tumors at St. Louis Children's Hospital

We feel the proton beam for solely just helps complete what we feel is a very robust cancer therapy for children and I think families who come here will realize that we can provide the state of the art care for any condition that the child may have.

Allison Huish's Experience with Frankincense

Ty: Allison Huish was diagnosed with brain cancer at the tender age of 13, and she used frankincense oil to treat it. Here is her amazing story. Allison Huish: I walked out of the waiting…

By: Michel Felix
Proton Therapy to Treat Children with Tumors at St. Louis Children's Hospital

Siteman Cancer Center and St. Louis Children’s Hospital have added a breakthrough weapon to their arsenal in the battle against cancer. It really represents yet another step of how…

By: St. Louis Children's Hospital