University of Cincinnati Medical Center (UCMC) and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center have partnered to transform radiotherapy for many cancers in Greater Cincinnati and beyond. At the UCMC Proton Therapy Center in Liberty Township, we can deliver radiation to a tumor with remarkable precision.
The UCMC Proton Therapy Center is the only facility of its kind within 200 miles and is one of only 23 centers in the country. In addition, the center houses the only treatment gantry (radiation treatment room with a moveable beam) in the world exclusively dedicated to cancer research.
Proton therapy is a type of radiation for cancer. Protons can target tumors with sub-millimeter precision without damaging healthy tissue.
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While standard radiation (performed with X-rays) is effective for many kinds of cancer, high doses of radiation must be given in order to reach tumors. In addition, after the X-rays reach a tumor they continue to travel through the body, affecting healthy tissue.
Proton therapy is different. Protons enter the body at a low intensity and come to a complete stop once they reach a tumor. This reduces a patient’s chance of experiencing side effects and long-term complications. In some cases, this also allows for higher doses of radiation to be used, increasing the likelihood of destroying a tumor.
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Proton radiation is produced by accelerating hydrogen ions to high speeds – approximately 2/3 the speed of light. This acceleration occurs inside of a 90-ton device called a cyclotron. The cyclotron uses a combination of high-strength magnets and strong electric currents to propel protons and focus the radiation beam.