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Saúde / 29/07/2021


Pioneering therapy 'erases' brain tumor in a 7-year-old girl

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Pioneering therapy 'erases' brain tumor in a 7-year-old girl

A relatively new treatment, it has been the promising bet of some doctors to cure some specific types of cancer.

The so-called Proton Therapy is a type of radiation therapy that, instead of photons (as in traditional radiation therapy), uses protons to destroy tumor tissue. And that saved the life of little 7-year-old Ahinara in Spain.

The 'machine', as the little girl refers to, is used in a unit of the Clínica Universitária de Navarra, headquartered in Madrid. This is one of the few institutions in the world that owns and offers the treatment.

High precision treatment

Proton Therapy is still expensive, making access difficult for most of the world's population.

Today there are only 107 proton therapy units in 20 countries and about 37 are under construction.

The procedure has stood out for having high precision in acting against the tumor.

Furthermore, another great advantage, and the reason that this treatment is more suitable in certain cases, is that this type of beam produces less damage to adjacent tissues and, therefore, less side effects for patients.

“In tumors located in the central nervous system, at the base of the skull, in the head region, in the spinal cord, or which are very close to tissues that need to be preserved, as well as in patients who have received radiation before, it is particularly important to reduce the dose. radiation to healthy tissue around the tumor.”

This is explained by Pablo Menéndez, director of the Radiotherapy Area of ​​the Angel H. Roffo Institute of Oncology at the University of Buenos Aires, who is also a specialist in therapy.

Ideal for cancer in children

Because it is much less aggressive than other already conventional therapies, the new technique becomes quite suitable for children with certain types of tumor.

"In these cases, it is essential to minimize the side effects in normal tissues because when children survive, and they survive massively with childhood cancer, they have sequelae that limit their life in the long term," said physician Felipe Calvo, Director of the Therapy Unit of Protons at the University of Navarre Clinic.

“Of the childhood tumors, most are brain and brains that were irradiated with photons survive for a long time and have neurocognitive problems”, adds the doctor, who is part of the team that treated Ahinara.

He points out that Proton Therapy is less toxic, because it minimizes the radiation that reaches vessels, arteries and circulating blood, protecting the patient's immune system.

Ahinara cancer was a type of brain sarcoma rare in Europe, but seen more frequently in Latin America.

As it is perfectly suited for Proton Therapy, doctors recommended the treatment at the University of Navarre.

Ahinara carried out the entire process, eliminated the brain tumor and celebrates her success with her family.

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