Radiation Oncology

The Radiation Oncology Program within the Children's Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases is an internationally recognized leader in pediatric radiation oncology and one of only three radiation oncology programs in the nation focused exclusively on children. Our program is an integral part of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. Our technology for planning and delivering treatment is state-of-the-art. With the majority of childhood cancer patients now able to be cured of their disease, our program is especially focused on minimizing the long-term consequences of our treatment.

  • Families come to our facility from throughout the U.S., as well as from Asia, South America and the Middle East, for the highest-quality radiation therapy delivered in a compassionate and child-friendly environment
  • Our expert, dedicated team is staffed by a Board-Certified radiation oncologist and Board-Certified radiation physicist, which means well-trained pediatric experts are providing the best family-centered care for our patients
  • We offer treatment options for all types of pediatric cancer, including brain tumors, sarcoma, lymphoma and leukemia, neuroblastoma, retinoblastoma and Wilms' tumor
  • Our physician-scientists are continually seeking new solutions; we were among the first centers worldwide to use intensity-modulated radiation therapy, which concentrates the radiation dose on the tumor and directs it away from sensitive nearby tissues

Types of Treatments

The Radiation Oncology Program provides a complete spectrum of treatment alternatives. The technique and treatment plan we use depends on the type and location of your child’s cancer. In each case, we will tailor our approach to your child’s particular needs. To learn more about the different types of treatments, please click here.

  • Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy
  • Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy
  • Volumetric Modulated Arc Radiation Therapy
  • 3D Conformal Radiation Therapy
  • Ocular Plaque Brachytherapy
  • Total Body Irradiation
  • Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Treatment Planning Equipment

  • Phillips Brilliance Big Bore CT Scanner to help us plan the treatment
  • Philips Gemini PET/CT scanner to help us define the precise region to focus treatment
  • GE MRI scanner to help us define the precise region to focus treatment
  • Eclipse Treatment Planning software to help us plan the treatment
  • VelocityAI Deformable Image Registration software to help us plan the treatment

Treatment Delivery Equipment

  • Varian TrueBeam Linear Accelerator with advanced cone beam CT imaging
  • Varian PerfectPitch 6 degree of freedom robotic couch for flexibility needed to optimally position patients to correct any misalignment

Precise Patient Positioniong Equipment

  • AlignRT Optical Surface Imaging from Vision RT
  • Elekta HeadFix precision head fixation system
  • Elekta BodyFix precision body fixation system

Innovation

Our Center is unique because we only treat children, which means that everything your child will encounter will be child friendly. Our team includes child life specialists, music therapists, and counselors who can help your child cope with the demands of treatment. Other ancillary specialists work with us to reduce or avoid the need for daily sedation or anesthesia.

Children are particularly sensitive to the radiation doses needed to destroy their tumors because their organs are still growing and developing. Late radiation side effects, such as impaired intellectual development, cataract formation, impaired bone growth, arteriosclerosis, and new cancers can take decades to develop and can threaten our patients’ lives all over again in their early adulthood.

Our design and use of custom immobilization devises are tailored to each part of the body to allow for precise treatment with minimal irradiation of healthy tissues. Our Center only sees pediatric patients, so our equipment is prepared to minimize their movements. We co-developed our non-invasive and non-claustrophobic head fixation system which provides unrivaled precision. We use intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) to sculpt the radiation dose away from healthy tissues.

Our Center participates in local and national research efforts to better understand and mitigate the late effects of radiation therapy. We also conduct our own research on late effects of treatments and constantly improve the quality and accuracy of our treatments.