by Loren Bonner
, DOTmed News Online Editor
Multiple ProCure proton therapy centers around the U.S. will lead clinical trails to evaluate the use of proton beam therapy for treating pediatric and prostate cancers in patients, according to Warrenville, Ill.-based CDH Proton Center, A ProCure Center.
"It is vital that we report results from all (or nearly all) patients treated with protons to evaluate and continue to improve the effectiveness of this treatment," Dr. William Hartsell, medical director at the center, told DOTmed News.
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The for-profit ProCure chain of proton therapy centers currently operates three out of 10 proton therapy centers in the U.S., representing a significant portion of U.S. patients treated with the advanced form of radiation therapy. Proton beam therapy is said to deliver high doses of radiation non-invasively with minimal side effects.
Because protons directly target cancer cells without damaging healthy tissue — and growing tissue in children — this form of therapy is beneficial for treating many pediatric cancers.
The new pediatric trial will evaluate infants born with tumors of the central nervous system and will assess proton beam therapy as an option for treatment in addition to chemotherapy regimens and radiation therapy.
"Proton therapy has been proven to be safe and effective for many tumor sites, including in children with certain brain tumors. We are using these and other studies to evaluate the effectiveness of protons in other settings," said Dr. Hartsell. "It is important to evaluate the effectiveness of protons in combination with commonly used therapies."
In addition, proton beam therapy is frequently used to treat prostate cancer, which is also reimbursed through Medicare. However, a recent study from the National Cancer Institute found that in the long term, there was no difference in outcomes for men with prostate cancer when treated with the more expensive proton beam therapy versus intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), a more common form of radiation therapy.
Three of the new ProCure trials will evaluate men with prostate cancer — one will treat men with a higher dose of radiation over a shorter time period than the current nine week standard; another will combine hormone therapy with proton beam therapy; and the third will look at proton beam therapy treatment with or without chemotherapy.
The fifth ProCure trail includes a registry study that is open at all three ProCure centers: the CDH center, the ProCure Proton Therapy Center in Oklahoma City
, and the ProCure Proton Therapy Center in Somerset, N.J.Back to DOTmed News