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St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and UF Proton Therapy Institute to Begin Proton Therapy Clinical Trial
Date:11/9/2009

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Nov. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and the University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute have formed a collaboration to provide proton therapy for St. Jude patients. The announcement follows the approval of the first clinical study to evaluate the use of proton therapy for rare brain cancers in children younger than 3 years old.

Under the clinical protocol, St. Jude will refer patients to receive proton therapy at the UF Proton Therapy Institute in Jacksonville, Fla. The purpose of the clinical study is to improve response rates and decrease treatment-related side effects.

Proton therapy is being studied as a way to reduce potential damage to healthy tissue that may result from conventional radiation therapy. This is especially important in treating children with brain and spinal tumors to potentially avoid interference with development, growth and cognitive functioning.

St. Jude has the world's largest protocol-based pediatric brain tumor research and treatment program, which puts it in an excellent position to scientifically document the advantages realized with proton beam radiation therapy.

"Proton beam therapy is potentially of great importance to St. Jude and our patients," said Dr. Joseph H. Laver, St. Jude executive vice president and clinical director. "Although most proton facilities operating in the U.S. recognize pediatrics as a major area of focus, there is very little meaningful data using this modality in children. Working with UF Proton Therapy Institute, we are well-positioned to answer key questions regarding this therapy for children with cancer."

St. Jude patients accepted for the clinical study will be in Jacksonville for proton therapy treatment for six to eight weeks. It is expected that up to 15 patients will receive treatment during the first year of the study. While in Jacksonville, hospital care for St. Jude patients
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SOURCE St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
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