Global Leader in Proton Therapy Care and Research
Cincinnati Children’s is an international leader in developing new cancer treatments for children and young adults while keeping patients and families as the core focus of everything we do. We were one of the first pediatric hospitals in the world to open its own proton therapy centers. And we led the world’s first clinical trial of FLASH proton therapy, a groundbreaking cancer treatment that delivers radiation treatment in less than one second. Our focus on families also is the reason we’re building 12 extended stay apartments on our Liberty Campus exclusively available to our proton therapy patients and families.
Why Choose Us
The Most Advanced Radiation Therapy Available
Pencil-beam proton therapy is the most precise and advanced form of radiation therapy available in the world today, and we offer it. Pencil-beam proton therapy allows the radiation to follow the shape of the tumor within a millimeter of its shape. This specialized technology destroys cancer cells while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissues and organs. As a result, patients experience fewer short-term side effects and long-term complications than with traditional radiation therapy. This improved outcome is especially important for children, whose bodies are still growing and developing.
Pediatric Expertise and Experience
Our team has deep experience with pediatric proton therapy. We’ve treated more than 1,600 patients since opening our center in 2016, including nearly 750 pediatric patients.
Our cancer doctors and care givers are not generalists. They specialize in treating specific types of cancers that affect children. Their deep knowledge and experience give patients a level of care that you won’t find anywhere else. In fact, our entire team is comprised of pediatric specialists because we know pediatric expertise makes a difference for children and young adults. For example, any young child needing anesthesia, in order to be completely still during treatment, receives it from a pediatric-trained and specialized anesthesiologist. The full team of pediatric subspecialists includes medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, anesthesiologists, nurses and nurse practitioners, child life specialists, and social workers—each with a dedicated focus on offering the best care for your child.
Global Leaders in Proton Therapy Research
Cincinnati Children’s is the only academic medical center in the world that has a dedicated research gantry that can be used for both basic and clinical research. Our program made a $24 million investment to build this research facility. Our purpose was to advance the science behind proton therapy and develop safe radiation treatments for cancer patients around the world.
Our researchers led the world’s first in-human FLASH proton therapy clinical trial in 2022. FLASH delivers an ultra-high dose rate of proton therapy radiation in less this one second. The initial clinical trial, with adult participants, demonstrated clinical feasibility as well as preliminary efficacy and safety of the treatment. The promising results were recognized and celebrated across the globe. In fact, Physics World ranked it among the magazine’s “Top 10 Breakthroughs of the Year for 2022.” The FLASH research has wide implications for the future of cancer care because about half of all cancer patients worldwide receive radiation as part of their treatment. Additional studies are underway at our center to learn more about what the future holds for this exciting new therapy.
Out-of-Town Patient and Family Resources and Housing
More than half of our patients travel from outside our area, coming from all over the country and world for access to our experts and pediatric proton therapy treatments. Our team is dedicated to making your relocation for care as seamless as possible. Our proton therapy intake coordinator helps manage all aspects of travel for out-of-town patients and families. We help you identify the best housing and transportation options to fit your family’s needs. We also put you in touch with foundations and other community resources that could pay some of your expenses.
We offer many discounted, affordable housing options, which includes three fully furnished apartments located a mile away from our center. They are available exclusively for families of our proton therapy patients through the Bold and Brave Kids Foundation. Many of our patients spend all or part of the time in in one of these apartments. Also, starting in fall 2023, patients will be able to stay on campus in one of 12 new two-bedroom apartments also managed and leased by the foundation.
Ongoing Medical Oncology Care and Collaboration
Every patient who travels to Cincinnati Children’s for proton therapy receives ongoing medical cancer care from our top-ranked team of medical oncologists in addition to their proton therapy treatments. Both our radiation and medical oncology providers partner with each patient’s referring care team to develop the most ideal care plan. We also give the home care team regular updates on your child’s health and treatment status. Our collaboration ensures that all your child’s medical and cancer care needs are met during this transition of care. They receive constant attention and consideration during their radiation treatment in our center.
Inpatient Services and Support
Cincinnati Children’s is of a few programs in the world with a full inpatient, pediatric cancer hospital just down the hall from its proton therapy center. This close proximity was intentional, supporting children and young adults who need to remain hospitalized while receiving their proton therapy treatments. It eliminates the burden of traveling by ambulance, or medical transport, between an inpatient hospital setting and a proton therapy center.
Hospital teachers and school intervention specialists from our Hospital School Program provide extensive services to help children with cancer maintain their academic skills and eventually reintegrate into the classroom. Certified teachers collaborate with the patient’s school on standards-based learning goals, create lessons and assignments, and assess student learning. Individualized lessons are taught during the school year and summer.
Cancer Rehabilitation Services
Cancer and cancer treatment take a toll on children’s growing bodies. Specialists in the hospital’s innovative Pediatric Cancer Rehabilitation Program provide customized therapy based on each child’s specific needs and goals. We are proud to be the first in the world to receive a Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities accreditation in pediatric cancer rehabilitation.
Young Adult Cancer Center
Because of our deep expertise in pediatric cancer biology and treatment, we also offer proton therapy treatments to young adult patients between ages 15 and 39 who have a pediatric form of cancer. This group represents only 2% of adult cancers and they respond differently to cancer therapy and older adults. Their side effects and treatment protocols are different and often require the expertise of a pediatric cancer team. Learn more about our Young Adult Cancer Center.
Supporting Emotional Needs for the Entire Family
Child life specialists focus on your child’s emotional needs and help make the experience as positive and kid-friendly as possible. They support your family's visit by explaining the care process and providing emotional support, often through play activities with your child.
Social workers are also an important part of your multidisciplinary team. They help connect you to financial and community resources. They can help with the any psychological and social challenges you face during treatment.