Ohio State, Nationwide Children's Hospital First to Offer 'Flash' Proton Therapy

September 18, 2019

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A highly targeted form of proton therapy – known as “FLASH” – will be investigated in clinical trial participants with certain newly diagnosed, recurrent or advanced cancers as part of central Ohio’s first and only proton therapy center, a collaborative effort of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) and Nationwide Children’s Hospital

According to preclinical data, FLASH therapy could reduce what is typically 30 days of treatments over 30 days into a single treatment ­– delivered in less than one second.

The central Ohio proton therapy center will be the first “out-of-the-box” solution for FLASH inclusive of the most cutting-edge cancer-fighting proton device with integrated shielding in the United States and in the world.

Scheduled to open in 2022 at a new outpatient cancer center on Ohio State’s west campus, the proton therapy center will offer comprehensive radiation oncology treatment options for both adults and children at a single location.

Proton therapy is an advanced type of radiation treatment that uses protons (positively charged particles) instead of X-rays to kill cancer cells. A machine (cyclotron) delivers a high-energy proton beam painlessly through the skin from outside the body. Protons are accelerated to about two-thirds the speed of light, or more than 100,000 miles per second, to destroy cancer cells, while minimizing exposure to nearby healthy tissues. FLASH, a new form of proton therapy available only through experimental clinical trials, will be investigated to deliver this highly targeted treatment in a single burst in under one second. In preclinical studies, both conventional proton therapy and FLASH reduced the number of needed treatment sessions while yielding no known additional side effects. In contrast, traditional radiation therapy based on X-rays, or photons, is commonly delivered in multiple treatment sessions and typically requires six to eight weeks to complete.

Proton therapy can be used alone or in combination with other therapies to treat several localized cancers, including prostate, brain, head and neck, lung, spine and gastrointestinal in adults, as well as brain cancer, lymphoma, retinoblastomas and sarcomas in children.

The new multi-room proton therapy center will be equipped with the Varian ProBeam 360° treatment system. It will be the first treatment center specifically built with a dual-capability system that can deliver both conventional proton therapy and FLASH to both adults and children in the United States.

“We are building a comprehensive radiation treatment facility that will continue to bring the most advanced therapy options to patients at all stages of disease for a wide variety of human cancers. Access to this type of care is critically important to our region,” says Arnab Chakravarti, MD, medical director of Radiation Oncology at the OSUCCC – James and chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. “We have developed key relationships with hospitals across the United States and worldwide to investigate and potentially expand access to this type of treatment on the global level.”

“This new therapy is especially relevant in pediatrics, where minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissues is especially critical for long-term side effects,” says Timothy Cripe, MD, PhD, division chief of Hematology, Oncology, Blood and Marrow Transplantation at Nationwide Children’s. “It will tremendously improve the quality of life for children and families if we can deliver the same level of cancer control with a single delivery versus six consecutive weeks. We aspire to become one of the world’s pioneers in investigating this new technology through innovative clinical trials.”

FLASH is being actively investigated in pre-clinical models and not yet approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

To learn more about radiation therapy treatment at the OSUCCC – James, visit cancer.osu.edu.

Media Contacts:
Amanda J. Harper
OSUCCC – James Media Relations

Nationwide Children’s Hospital Media Relations

Collaborative Effort With

The James The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center

About Nationwide Children's Hospital

Named to the Top 10 Honor Roll on U.S. News & World Report’s 2019-20 list of “Best Children’s Hospitals,” Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of America’s largest not-for-profit freestanding pediatric health care systems providing wellness, preventive, diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitative care for infants, children and adolescents, as well as adult patients with congenital disease. Nationwide Children’s has a staff of more than 13,000 providing state-of-the-art pediatric care during more than 1.5 million patient visits annually. As home to the Department of Pediatrics of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Nationwide Children’s physicians train the next generation of pediatricians and pediatric specialists. The Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of the Top 10 National Institutes of Health-funded freestanding pediatric research facilities. More information is available at NationwideChildrens.org.