Monday, August 2

Ahinara, the Ecuadorian girl whom a pioneering therapy in Spain managed to “erase” a brain tumor

  • Laura Plitt
  • BBC News World

Ahinara with her father, Victoriano Iglesias

Image source, University of Navarra Clinic


Victoriano says that seeing the calm and joy with which her daughter faced the situation was something that gave her strength in the worst moments.

Some say the washing machine, others spaceship. But for Ahinara, it is simply the machine.

This is how this 7-year-old Ecuadorian girl calls the device of the Proton Therapy Unit that the University of Navarra Clinic has at its headquarters in Madrid and that managed to completely eliminate a brain tumor that doctors in her country had diagnosed for a few months before.

This immense instrument is the centerpiece of an advanced cancer treatment known as protonotherapy: a type of radiation therapy that instead of photons (as in traditional radiation therapy) uses protons to destroy the tumor tissues.

It is a relatively new, expensive and highly accurate treatment that is available only in some places in the world – there are currently 107 proton therapy spaces in 20 countries, and about 37 are under construction – and it is especially indicated in some cancers.

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