If your child is diagnosed with sarcoma, you want to find the most advanced therapy available from experts who specialize in caring for these tumors. This kind of care is at the heart of our treatment approach at the Cincinnati Children’s Sarcoma Program.
Our core team includes physicians and other providers from medical oncology, orthopaedic surgery, oncologic surgery, interventional radiology and radiation oncology who care for children and young adults with sarcoma every day. This level of specialization and experience is one of our program’s greatest strengths, and ensures that each patient receives thoughtful, comprehensive, well-coordinated care.
The core team meets frequently to discuss treatment plans and talk about how patients are responding to therapy. Depending on a child’s needs, they may ask other specialists to contribute their expertise, such as general surgeons, plastic surgeons, rehabilitation medicine specialists, fertility specialists and cardiologists.
Our care team creates a personalized treatment plan for each patient. The plan may include chemotherapy, novel immune therapies, radiation therapy, surgery to remove some or all of the tumor, and blood or marrow transplantation. Patients have access to both national clinical research studies as well as research studies only available at Cincinnati Children’s.
The Sarcoma Program offers comprehensive therapies for patients with tumors of the bone and soft tissue.
Chemotherapy uses one or more anti-cancer drugs to destroy cancer cells or slow down their growth. The care team customizes the chemotherapy regimen based on each patient’s diagnosis and needs. Many new drugs target specific changes (mutations) in tumors, or activate the immune system to kill cancer cells and reduce chemotherapy side effects. Sometimes, experimental chemotherapy offers the most promise for a cure. In these cases, we partner with national research organizations and drug companies to bring these therapies to our patients.
Precision Radiation Therapy
Our leading-edge radiation therapies deliver high doses of radiation while sparing healthy tissue. They include:
- Proton therapy is one of the most precise and advanced forms of radiation therapy available in the world today. In the hands of the expert cancer team at Cincinnati Children’s, specialized pencil beam technology destroys cancer cells while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissues and organs. Our Proton Therapy Center is one of only two such centers in the world owned by a children’s hospital.
- Shaped-beam stereotactic radiation therapy delivers high doses of radiation using custom-shaped beams to difficult-to-reach areas.
- Intensity-modulated radiation therapy allows physicians to modulate the intensity of radiation beams and deliver radiation that conforms to the tumor’s shape.
Novel Drugs and Drug Combinations
Cincinnati Children’s offers one of the nation’s largest portfolios of new anticancer therapies and drug combinations for patients with relapsed or refractory malignancies. Cincinnati Children’s was one of the lead centers to evaluate the anticancer targeted drug larotrectinib™. This drug targets a cancer-specific genetic change found across a large number of otherwise difficult-to-cure malignancies. Brian Turpin, DO, from reported a 93% response rate to larotrectinib™ in pediatric patients with TRK fusion-positive tumors. This finding holds promise to transform the treatment for these cancers.
Targeted Injection Radiation Therapies
Cincinnati Children’s is the first pediatric cancer center to offer treatment with Lutathera. This drug targets a receptor found on the cancer cell and then delivers radiation that can kill the tumor cell while causing minimal damage to surrounding tissues. This drug is delivered through an IV. Our research is examining if this therapy will target neuroendocrine tumors and nasopharyngeal carcinomas, and others such as Ewing’s sarcoma.
New research suggests that radiation therapy may “unmask” some cancers so they can be recognized and killed by the immune system. Our team has developed a new clinical trials that combine radiation with drugs stimulate a patient’s own immune cells to potentially recognize and target cancer cells. This type of treatment is called combination immunotherapy with radiation therapy. We are testing it in a clinical trial for patients with relapsed or difficult-to-treat sarcomas, liver and kidney tumors, lymphomas, and other cancers.
Limb-Sparing and Reconstructive Surgical Expertise.
Our team offers the most advanced techniques in limb-sparing and limb reconstruction surgeries such as targeted muscle reinnervation and free functional muscle transfer.
Our pediatric orthopaedic and plastic surgeons also offer unique reconstructive surgery options to preserve function and restore the appearance of tissue that has been affected by sarcoma or sarcoma therapy.
Novel Surgical Procedures
Our team provides cutting-edge surgeries specifically for patients with sarcoma. These include sentinel lymph node biopsies, which help doctors accurately stage cancer. Then the surgeon injects heated chemotherapy, known as hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), directly to cancer cells in the abdomen.
Bone Marrow Transplantation
Our Bone Marrow Transplantation Program team has performed more than 2,300 bone marrow transplants, making us one of the most experienced pediatric transplant programs in the world. We are an international leader in the development of new transplant regimens for patients with leukemia, lymphoma and myelodysplasia.
Our bone marrow transplantation team specializes in innovative approaches to transplant therapy. The team:
- Has developed transplant procedures that are now the standard of care in 240+ cancer centers throughout North America
- Has performed transplants on more than 100 children a year, with a 96% survival rate—significantly higher than the national average
- Has extensive experience in performing complex stem cell transplants from unrelated donors
Cancer Rehabilitation Services
Our team provides physical and occupational therapy to help patients regain mobility, strength, and independence. For most people, outpatient rehabilitation therapy can make a big difference, but others need a more intensive approach. For those patients, we offer inpatient rehabilitation through our Pediatric Cancer Rehabilitation Specialty Program, the first program in the world to receive a Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) accreditation in pediatric cancer rehabilitation.