Orlando Health Treats First Pediatric Patient using Proton Therapy

12-year-old is first in Central Florida to undergo revolutionary radiation treatment

ORLANDO, FL. (May 26, 2016) – When Zayne Burton’s parents, Lori and Chaz, heard the diagnosis that their 12-year-old son had a medullablastoma, a tumor of the brain and spine, they were in shock. Quickly, however, their focus turned to treating the curable cancer so their son could go on to live a healthy life. Their journey brought them to The Marjorie and Leonard Williams Center for Proton Therapy at UF Health Cancer Center - Orlando Health, which had just opened, becoming the first proton center in Central Florida to treat patients us-ing proton beams, a type of radiation therapy, to shrink tumors. Just weeks after his diagnosis and surgery to remove the tumor, Zayne, a 7th grader from Orlando, began proton therapy treatment at UF Health Cancer Center - Orlando Health, becoming the first pediatric patient treated in Central Florida with this revolutionary treatment option.

Proton therapy, because it can so precisely target tumors, has proven effective at treating tumors that are located near vital organs and in young patients, like Zayne, whose bodies are still growing. To undergo proton therapy treatment, the radiation oncology team designed a custom radiation mask that Zayne will wear for his treat-ments. In total, Zayne will receive 30 proton therapy treatments over a 6-week period. The bright red mask, which resembles a super hero, boasts the 12-year-old’s mantra “AmaZayne”.

Zayne is an ideal candidate for craniospinal radiation with proton therapy. Given the type of tumor that we are dealing with and the location, proton therapy is a much better choice for Zayne than conventional radiation. With protons we can shape the radiation dose precisely, which limits dosage of radiation to adjacent bone and organs. For Zayne that means less side effects in the short and long term.” said Zayne’s radiation oncologist Naren Ramakrishna, MD, PhD, Director, Proton Therapy, UF Health Cancer Center -Orlando Health.

The Marjorie and Leonard Williams Center for Proton Therapy joins an elite group of proton therapy centers around the world. It is the third proton therapy center in the state of Florida, the 23rd in the nation and one of only 67 proton therapy centers worldwide. In addition to treating pediatric cancers, the center treats cancers of the brain, spine, prostate, lung, breast and head and neck. Proton therapy, because it can so precisely target tu-mors, has proven effective at treating such cancers and patients report fewer side effects. The Marjorie and Leonard Williams Center for Proton Therapy is located along Orange Avenue between Orlando Regional Medical Center and UF Health Cancer Center - Orlando Health. The 15,000 square foot facility consists of three floors – two above ground and one underground – in order to accommodate the MEVION S250 superconduct-ing synchrocyclotron proton accelerator. The MEVION S250 is an advanced compact proton therapy system that operates similar to a linear accelerator. The MEVION system at Orlando Health is the 5th system of its kind operating nationwide and one of only ten currently planned for the United States and Europe.

In the first year Orlando Health estimates that it will treat 125 patients with proton therapy, approximately 20 patients a day. Once operating at full capacity it is expected the proton therapy center will treat 225 patients annually, as many as 26 patients a day. On average, patients undergoing proton therapy receive 25-30 treatments over four to six weeks.


About Orlando Health

Orlando Health is a $2.3 billion not-for-profit health care organization and a community-based network of physician practices, hospitals, and outpatient care centers throughout Central Florida. The organization is home to the area’s only Level One Trauma Centers for adults and pediatrics and is a statutory teaching hospital system that offers both specialty and community hospitals. More than 2,000 physicians have privileges at Orlando Health, which is also one of the area’s largest employers with more than 15,000 employees who serve nearly 2 million Central Florida residents and more than 4,500 international patients annually. Additionally, Orlando Health provides more than $270 million in support of community health needs. More information can be found at About Us.