A new proton therapy centre has opened at Ohio State University’s west campus in Columbus with an investment of $100m to treat children and adults with cancer.

The facility has been opened via collaboration between Nationwide Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James).

Situated at the James Outpatient Care Clinic, the facility spans about 55,000ft² and is claimed the first facility in the central Ohio region that provides this targeted kind of radiation therapy to treat those complex tumours that otherwise cannot be removed via surgery.

The proton therapy centre is claimed to offer radiation oncology treatment options for adult and paediatric patients at one location.

Proton therapy is an advanced form of radiation treatment that leverages positively charged particles to target cancer cells, instead of regular X-rays, to minimise damage to the surrounding healthy cells.

OSUCCC – James Department of Radiation Oncology chair and the proton therapy centre director Arnab Chakravarti said: “Proton therapy is the perfect example of personalised care in cancer.

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“You can target the proton beam in a highly specific way that results in virtually no damage to the surrounding healthy tissues.

“This technology has the potential to literally improve the health and well-being of millions of people across Ohio and beyond.”

Researchers at Ohio State University will also investigate FLASH proton therapy that can deliver pinpoint treatment in a tenth of a second, to reduce the overall treatment time.

Ohio State is one of the few institutions globally set to carry out translational research in this form of proton therapy.

The centre is staffed by a team of medical physicists, physicians, engineers, IT specialists, AI and machine-learning experts, radiation biologists and cancer biologists.

Equipped with the Varian ProBeam 360° treatment system, the facility is capable of delivering both conventional proton therapy and research-level FLASH therapy to adults and children.

Nationwide Children haematology, oncology and bone marrow transplantation division chief Timothy Cripe said: “This is a significant day, especially for our patients and their families.

“Having this resource right here in Columbus makes vital treatment more accessible for those who need it and allows families to stay here in Columbus throughout their entire treatment.

“With the opening of this facility, it is thrilling to get a glimpse into what is now possible in the realm of cancer treatment for children, and we look forward to continuing our work to improve the quality of life for all our patients.”