St. Jude to house first proton radiation therapy center - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

St. Jude to house first proton radiation therapy center for children

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Instead of surgery, proton therapy offers a very precise form of radiation without the nasty side effects. Instead of surgery, proton therapy offers a very precise form of radiation without the nasty side effects.
In the not too distant future, St. Jude will be opening a new tower that will house the first proton radiation therapy center in the world dedicated solely to children. In the not too distant future, St. Jude will be opening a new tower that will house the first proton radiation therapy center in the world dedicated solely to children.
Doctors said proton therapy is particularly effective for children. Doctors said proton therapy is particularly effective for children.

(WMC-TV) - Another medical breakthrough at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is making headlines. Soon, children at the hospital will undergo a super-accurate cancer treatment called proton therapy.

Instead of surgery, proton therapy offers a very precise form of radiation without the nasty side effects.

With nearly 8,000 active patients visiting the hospital every year, you might think that personal attention for each patient and small details might get overlooked. But families at St. Jude say that is never the case.

"St. Jude is kind of an all service package, they provide it all, and the whole team was waiting to meet us when we arrived," said Miranda Rimes, whose son is being treated at St. Jude.

The Memphis campus now has 2.5 million square feet of research and clinical space dedicated to finding cures and saving children.

Some of the newest research is happening in the lab, where they are looking at the genomics of cancer, specifically at acute lympoblastic leukemia, which is the most common form of cancer in children.

"Already from the work we've done, we've shown we can identify something new, something unexpected and often something very important on every subtype of leukemia that we've looked at," said Dr. Charles Mulligan, St. Jude pathologist.

Dr. Mulligan says these discoveries can not only lead to cancer cures, but better treatment for patients.

"What we're looking for are drugs that may target a new a pathway that's abnormal in a cell, or a specific protein or mutation that we pick up from the genomic work, so we've had a few success in the last couple of years just from genomic analysis," he added.

Researchers are pushing for even more success. In the not too distant future, St. Jude will be opening a new tower that will house the first proton radiation therapy center in the world dedicated solely to children.

St. Jude purchased the pencil beam proton therapy system last year. The cost is nearly $200 million.

It is another beam of hope for a one-of-a-kind facility that has already increased the survival rate for childhood leukemia from four percent to 94 percent.

Doctors said proton therapy is particularly effective for children.

The beam attacks tumors near or within sensitive organs while limiting radiation exposure to healthy tissues, vital in children whose bodies are still growing and developing.

The center should be open next year.

You can help in the miracles at St. Jude by purchasing a ticket for this year's dream home giveaway. Call 1-800-224-6681 for more information.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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