Cincinnati Children’s to build extended-stay apartments for families of cancer patients at Proton Therapy Center

Thursday, November 03, 2022

Cincinnati Children’s will construct 12 extended-stay apartments on its Liberty Campus in Butler County, which will be used by families of cancer patients treated at the onsite Proton Therapy Center.

Four single-story buildings will each contain three apartments, which will accommodate families who travel to Cincinnati Children’s for proton therapy. Such treatment can take four to six weeks, which requires temporary relocation for many families.

Cincinnati Children’s will lease the buildings for $1 to the nonprofit Bold & Brave Kids Foundation, which will operate the furnished and equipped apartments. They will be used solely by families who travel to the Proton Therapy Center, which treats children and adults for more than 30 types of cancer. (Bold & Brave Kids currently provides three subsidized units close to the Liberty Campus for patients traveling to Cincinnati Children’s for proton therapy and will similarly operate the 12 new onsite units.)

Liberty Township trustees approved the Cincinnati Children’s plan for the four new buildings at a meeting on November 1, 2022. Site preparation is to begin in November 2022, and construction is to start in January 2023. Apartments could be ready for families by late April 2023, depending on weather and availability of building materials.

“The Cincinnati Children’s Proton Therapy Center is a destination for families from throughout Ohio, surrounding states and the rest of the nation who travel here to receive some of the most advanced and effective treatments for children with cancer,” said Abram Gordon, executive director of the Proton Therapy Center. “The extended-stay apartments operated by the Bold & Brave Kids Foundation will meet a critical need by accommodating these families in a relaxing setting near where their children undergo vital medical care.”

Each unit will encompass about 1,300 square feet and include two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full-size kitchen, a great room, a laundry room and a porch. Exteriors will be brick and lap siding. Cost of the four commercial buildings, which will occupy 3 acres owned by Cincinnati Children’s, is expected to be about $3.7 million.

“Proton therapy is an advanced form of radiation therapy,” said John Perentesis, MD, who is director of the Division of Oncology and co-director of the Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute at Cincinnati Children’s as well as research director for the Proton Therapy Center.

“The precision particle beam technology used at the Cincinnati Children’s Proton Therapy Center destroys cancer cells while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy organs," Perentesis said. “Patients experience fewer side effects and complications than with traditional radiation therapy. That’s especially important for children, whose bodies are still growing and developing.”

The therapy works by extracting positively charged protons from hydrogen gas and accelerating them through a cyclotron at up to nearly two-thirds the speed of light. The protons are guided to the tumor site by powerful magnetic and electrical fields.

Cincinnati Children’s invested $120 million to open the Proton Therapy Center in 2016. It includes two patient treatment rooms plus a $24 million, one-of-a-kind research facility with a proton treatment room and integrated laboratories. The unique capabilities of the research center were instrumental in Cincinnati developing the world’s first clinical trial of FLASH proton therapy. Research findings published in October 2022 in JAMA Oncology indicate the clinical feasibility and preliminary efficacy and safety of an experimental treatment for cancer patents that delivers radiation therapy at ultra-high dose rates in less than 1 second.

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Barrett J. Brunsman