Radiation oncologists at Washington University School of Medicine have a new option for treating cancer patients — proton therapy.
The S. Lee Kling Proton Therapy Center, which opened in January, provides proton therapy to adult patients of the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine and pediatric patients of St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Patients eligible for the therapy have cancer near vital structures such as the spine, brain, heart and eyes.
“Proton therapy is unique because it allows for very precise adjustments to the radiation beam, so we can target tumors,” said Jeffrey D. Bradley, MD, director of the proton therapy center. “It helps to minimize damage to surrounding tissue and is especially useful when treating growing children.”
For example, treatment of a brain tumor with proton therapy may be less likely to result in blindness or other complications, said Bradley, who also is the S. Lee Kling Professor of Radiation Oncology at Washington University.
The S. Lee Kling Proton Therapy Center plans to treat 20 to 25 patients a day. Treatment typically requires daily 30-minute sessions for two months. The center will serve the Midwest; the next closest location offering proton therapy is 225 miles away.
The MEVION S250 Proton Therapy System was developed and manufactured by Littleton, Mass.-based Mevion Medical Systems with the assistance of radiation oncologists and physicists at Washington University.