science

Shanghai to set up proton therapy center for child cancer patients

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SHANGHAI, March 5 (Xinhua) — A Shanghai proton therapy center is expected to take the lead in providing treatment for Chinese children with cancer in about two years.

The center will be jointly established by the Children’s Hospital of Fudan University, Shanghai Fosun Healthcare (Group) Co., Ltd. and the U.S.-based Mevion Medical Systems, Inc., under an agreement signed this week.

About 22,000 children are diagnosed with cancer every year in China. Surgery and chemotherapy are the main treatments.

Proton therapy is a new type of radiation therapy that uses high-energy beams to treat tumors. It can deliver cancer-killing power concentrated on tumors with minimal harm to surrounding healthy tissue, causing fewer side effects on brain and spine growth in children compared with traditional treatments, said Dong Kuiran, a senior oncologist at the children’s hospital.

“There are many proton therapy centers under construction in China, but most will provide treatment for adults only. A lack of doctors is another obstacle,” Dong said.

Many families travel abroad for proton therapy, at a cost of millions of yuan in many cases.

The partners in the Shanghai center also plan to establish a talent training base and promote Sino-U.S. research and development cooperation.

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