Proton therapy for pediatric cancers

Because children’s bodies are still growing and developing, pediatric tumors—especially those near the brain, head, neck, spinal cord, heart and lungs—are particularly challenging to treat with conventional radiation, which can be associated with significant toxicities.

 

Proton therapy largely prevents these sensitive areas from receiving any measurable dose of excess radiation. The result is fewer side effects during treatment and fewer long-term side effects than seen from conventional radiation including developmental abnormalities, growth delay, reduction in IQ and intelligence, and secondary cancers.

 

Childhood cancers we treat with proton radiation therapy include

  • Atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumors (AT/RTs)
  • Craniopharyngiomas
  • Ependymomas
  • Ewing’s sarcomas
  • Germ cell tumors
  • Low- and high-grade gliomas, including juvenile pilocytic astrocytomas and optic pathway gliomas
  • Lymphomas, including Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Medulloblastomas and primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNETs)
  • Neuroblastomas
  • Pituitary adenomas
  • Rhabdomyosarcomas
  • Tumors in the spine
  • Recurrent tumors, including recurrent benign tumors
Patients at the New York Proton Center receive Pencil Beam Scanning, a highly sophisticated and most precise type of proton therapy. As the name implies, proton Pencil Beam Scanning uses an extremely narrow beam to “dot” the protons onto the tumor. The process is repeated, layer by layer, like paint applied by the tip of an incredibly fine brush.

Not all proton therapy is created equal

Most proton centers use “volumetric” beams that deliver a fixed quantity of energy to the entire tumor. But the pencil beam scanning technology at the New York Proton Center delivers “intensity-modulated proton therapy,” or IMPT.

 

Widely considered the most advanced form of proton therapy, IMPT can target different parts of the tumor with different radiation dose levels based on the prescription and tumor’s exact location, while better protecting the surrounding normal tissues from irradiation. That’s particularly valuable when treating the most complicated tumors, those residing in the fissures of the head, neck and skull base.

How can we help?

Want to find out if proton therapy might be a good fit for you or your patient? Call us at 833-NYPROTON (833-697-7686) or fill out the appropriate form below.