Babies being treated for brain cancer have not received traditional radiation therapy since the 1980s. At that time, doctors realized that the side effects of radiation hitting healthy developing brain tissues in very young children was simply too severe. But within the past decade, proton therapy has become available to some of even these youngest patients. This newer radiation therapy method has a more targeted radiation beam that better concentrates its effect on the tumor while hitting fewer healthy tissues — but the nature of its effects on the developing brain are still being studied.
One such study, a doctoral dissertation project by a researcher at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, was recently recognized for its quality of design and potential impact with the John E. Gordon Dissertation Award from the Philadelphia Neuropsychology Society (PNS) and Clinical Neuropsychology Associates.