Possible New Cancer Therapy Can Deliver Radiation In Just One Second

Nov 20, 2020

Cincinnati Children's and UC Health are partnering to test a potential new cancer therapy that could drastically reduce the time it takes to receive radiation.

The Cincinnati Children's/UC Health Proton Therapy Center is testing FLASH radiation therapy which can deliver the same dose of radiation as traditional radiation therapy but in as little as one second.

"FLASH is potentially a transformational advance for cancer treatment for many patients," says John Perentesis, MD, director of the Division of Oncology & Cancer Programs at Cincinnati Children's in a news release.

The potential treatment could mean fewer side effects than traditional treatment, too.

"Trials using FLASH radiotherapy for other malignancies are currently being developed," says John C. Breneman, MD, medical director of the Proton Therapy Center and the study's principal investigator. "Using FLASH treatment for these cancers could deliver higher cancer-killing doses without causing inordinate side effects, which would be a real advance."

This is the first time the therapy is being tested on humans. The first patient received treatment this week. Investigators are looking to involve up to 10 participants in the trial with metastatic cancer that has spread to their bones.

"If the side effects of radiation on the normal tissues surrounding a tumor can be significantly reduced, the dose of radiation to treat a cancer can be greatly increased," Perentesis says. "This would raise hope to cure malignancies that respond to radiation but aren't completely cured at current dose, including pediatric brain tumors like DIPG/pontine glioma and medulloblastoma, sarcomas, and neuroblastoma."