AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Learning you have cancer is shocking, and going through treatment is scary. At UCHealth, a team developed technology that allows patients to watch a favorite movie or show during radiation treatments.
They call it Radflix. It is especially helpful in preventing children from needing anesthesia. Piper Lardes is a mini Wonder Woman, a little superhero at the CU Cancer Center.
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She’s been fighting cancer since last fall. The 5-year-old began to wake up in pain and then was unable to use her right arm.
The diagnosis was Ewing’s sarcoma.
“It’s a solid mass tumor pressing against her spinal cord on her neck,” explains Doug Lardes, her father.
Parents Doug and Bailey explained that Piper has been cared for by Children’s Hospital Colorado.
She underwent five different chemotherapy regimens for 14 weeks. Her 31 radiation treatments were at the CU Cancer Center.
“She’s the strongest person I know,” said Bailey Lardes, Piper’s mother.
During radiation treatments, Piper wore a Wonder Woman mask made especially for her.
And she didn’t worry about being alone and locked up because she could watch a favorite movie “Inside Out”.
“It kept me company,” said Piper.
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Watching the movie was possible thanks to Radflix, a video extraction system.
“We had to make a device that is compatible with radiation,” explains Dr. Douglas Holt explains.
So Holt and physicist Brian Miller PhD developed a long-throw projection system that keeps the image the size of an iPad. It is wireless and does not interfere with treatment.
“It has really been a game changer for these kids,” said Holt.
Especially for Piper …
“It gave her choice, it gave her control,” her father said. “By the second or third time, she was excited to go,” said her mother.
“This is a perfect example of the great synergy between the pediatric oncology and radiotherapy programs at Children’s Colorado and UCHealth. Patients and families benefit greatly from the shared and collaborative expertise, and together we can really make a positive difference for the people most affected by challenging diseases – the children themselves, ” said Lia Gore, head of pediatric hematology / oncology / bone marrow transplantation , Colorado Children’s Hospital.
“Using Radflix technology has been such a benefit to Piper. It is not uncommon for 5 year olds to require sedation before their radiotherapy sessions. This technology allowed her to spend less time in a hospital setting and live more time like a typical 5-year-old! said Brian Greffe, HOPE Clinic Medical Director, Children’s Hospital Colorado.
At the moment Radflix is only with UCHealth.
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The hope is that other hospitals will take over the system to help other superheroes fight cancer.