American Oncology Network to be First Medical Oncology Network in United States to Offer THOR® Light Therapy at The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders

New technology helps prevent oral mucositis for head and neck cancer patients undergoing radiation or chemoradiation

Fort Myers, Fla. & Bethesda, Md., March 08, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders (CCBD), an American Oncology Network (AON) partner, is pleased to announce it is now offering THOR® Photobiomodulation (PBM) therapy for the prevention and treatment of mouth sores in cancer therapy patients. Patients can now receive light therapy at both office locations in Maryland, Bethesda at 6410 Rockledge Drive, Suite 660 and in Germantown at 19735 Germantown Road, Suite 255.

The positive effects of PBM therapy on oral mucositis have been reported in 42 randomized controlled trials and nine systematic reviews, reducing the incidence of severe mucositis. Guidelines issued by the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC) in 2019 recommend the use of PBM for the prevention and treatment of oral mucositis caused by radiation.

“Cancer patients deal with many side effects when they go through treatment,” said Dr. Mark G. Goldstein of The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. “Head and neck cancer patients receiving a high dose of chemoradiation treatment are almost 100 percent guaranteed to get a high level of oral mucositis. These painful mouth sores can make everyday tasks like eating, swallowing or brushing teeth difficult. Being able to offer our patients light therapy can bring therapeutic benefit. Without sores, patients can maintain their treatment schedules and may be able to avoid feeding tubes as well as narcotics. Maintaining treatment schedules can improve cancer control and overall outcome, along with reducing any long-term side effects.”

Each light treatment takes about 60 seconds and is painless. The light unit is shaped like a flat popsicle which is placed inside the mouth. With this single light unit, the entire mouth can be treated including the tongue as well as the areas near and behind the tonsils. Research done in the United States, United Kingdom, Brazil, India and Europe, shows no side effects.

Medical Director and CEO of The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders Dr. Ralph Boccia added, “New developments continue to improve a patient’s quality of life. Currently only a handful of medical universities offer this light therapy. We’re excited to be one of the first community medical oncology practices in the country to be able to offer and treat mucositis, a major side effect suffered by many cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment.”

AON CEO Brad Prechtl, MBA said, “Bringing the most advanced and innovative technologies to patients is an essential part of CCBD’s mission as a community oncology practice to provide exceptional cancer care to patients close to home.”

AON is an alliance of physicians and seasoned healthcare leaders that provides a unique array of enhanced services to its affiliated community-based oncology practices. It consistently strives to find innovative ways to connect with patients. AON’s community oncology model allows physicians to focus on what matters most — their patients.

About The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders: (

Specialists in the diagnosis and treatment of blood disorders and cancer, The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders has been serving patients in the communities and surrounding areas of Bethesda and Germantown, Maryland for more than 25 years. Their individualized approach to patient care includes chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy and when appropriate, cutting edge therapies on clinical trials. The practice regularly performs more than 300 clinical trials on new and developing diagnostic devices and techniques for cancer and diseases. Patients receive home delivery of oral cancer medications, in-house lab and pathology and on-site infusion therapy. The practice also offers comprehensive support with nutrition guidance and financial counseling.

About American Oncology Network, LLC: (

American Oncology Network, LLC (AON) is an alliance of physicians and seasoned healthcare leaders partnering to ensure the long-term success of community oncology. Launched in 2018, the rapidly expanding AON network represents 92 physicians and 62 nurse practitioners and physician assistants practicing across 16 states. The executive management team of AON encompasses more than three decades of oncology practice management experience, enabling physicians to focus on what matters most – providing the highest quality care for patients.

The organization provides unique and comprehensive protocols for managing administrative procedures and enhancing ancillary services for its affiliates. AON is able to aggregate volume and attain economies of scale, as it guides its member physicians and practices through the transition to value-based reimbursement models that improve the patient experience and help to reduce the per-capita cost of cancer care.

AON also provides a unique model of physician led, community-based oncology management. With services such as a centralized specialty pharmacy, diagnostics, pathology, fully integrated electronic medical records, a care management team and a variety of financial assistance programs, an alliance with AON ensures that patients’ experiences will be at the very pinnacle of cancer care today.

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Course Testimonial: Leah Betts

Leah Betts, Kinesiologist“I truly enjoyed how the THOR training course was presented in terms of the visuals, type of information, ect. James made an 8-hour course quite entertaining. Overall, an amazing experience!”

Leah Betts
Oshawa ON, Canada

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James Carroll interviewed by Linda Bailey

James Carroll, Founder and CEO of Thor Photomedicine interviewed by Linda Bailey, owner of Total You Health.

James discusses facts and myths about the therapy. From why red light is the best for healing of all the colors in the light spectrum, to when he thinks PBM will become more mainstream, he sheds light on where this therapy is today compared to other alternative therapies. Listen to the exciting advances being made and big news about insurance coverage!

A 1 hour video interview.

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WVU Medicine Children’s, WVU Cancer Institute work to reduce pain in pediatric cancer patients

Chemotherapy is difficult for any child, but when it causes mucositis, a painful side effect that causes ulcers to form in the mouth, it gets even harder. These children often require more pain medications and longer hospital stays.

Ben Wilson, 11, of Dilliner, Pa., was one of those patients. He was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma. The chemotherapy regimen he was on was known to cause mucositis, but it was his best course of treatment. When he developed mucositis, his mother, Alison Wilson, talked to Dr. Hannah Hazard-Jenkins, director of the WVU Cancer Institute, about the trouble Ben was having with sores in his mouth and how difficult it was to maintain a lengthy mouthwash regimen to try to treat them.

“We tried some preventive treatments, including cold therapy, where you have them eat a lot of ice and do a series of seven mouthwashes, ” Alison Wilson said. “The cold therapy didn’t help much. Plus, it’s hard to use seven mouthwashes in a day, especially if you’re a kid, and they don’t taste very good.”

Hazard-Jenkins reached out to Dr. Geraldine Jacobson, WVU Cancer Institute Radiation Oncology chair, who contacted the pediatric oncologists at WVU Medicine Children’s to discuss whether the WVU Cancer Institute’s new THOR device would help Ben.

The THOR photobiomodulation device uses low-level lasers in the near-infrared range that stimulate and promote wound healing and regeneration.

“Low-level laser therapy is indicated by a multinational supportive care association for treatment of oral mucositis in adults, ” Jacobson said. “We have been using this treatment in the Department of Radiation Oncology since June to reduce oral mucositis in our head and neck cancer patients. The THOR device can be used outside the mouth along the cheek, jaw and neck to prevent mucositis lesions or inside the mouth to treat active wounds. There were positive reports of using this treatment for pediatric patients, so we decided to offer it to Ben.”

Dr. Patrick Tomboc, chief of WVU Medicine Children’s Hematology and Oncology, said he was amazed at how quickly the treatments helped Ben and prevented new sores from forming.

“This device greatly improves the quality of life for these patients, ” Tomboc said. “Ben has required much less pain medication than most patients who develop mucositis. We’ve been able to reduce the length of his hospital stays and really help with his pain management without any side effects.”

Photobiomodulation (PBM) reduces severity and duration of oral mucositis, and can be used for prevention.

The device is also indicated for use in wound healing, which helped Ben when the surgical wound on his foot was slow to heal.

“Ben had really been struggling with his wound healing all summer, and it’s always a concern when you start chemotherapy with an open wound because it can slow healing even more, leaving it open to possible infection, ” Alison Wilson said. “After a nurse in Radiation Oncology suggested we try it on his foot as well, we discussed it with his doctors. There were so few possible side effects that we decided to go ahead and see if it would help. We had more healing in one month than we had all summer.”

“We’re really grateful that they were willing to look into using this device on kids to see what other institutions were using it and the pros and cons of the treatment. We’re also really excited that it has opened the door for other pediatric patients here, ” she added.


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Course Testimonial: Rebecca Beagley

Rebecca Beagley, Veterinary Nurse“Course was excellent, a good explanation on how the machine works and I love that there is access to treatment plans and research.”

Rebecca Beagley
Veterinary Nurse
Gawler East SA, Australia

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Course Testimonial: Karen Cooper

Karen Cooper, Lymphoedema specialist“The training course was a good mix of theory, practical use, research and also very inspirational.

I wasn’t sure how I would feel learning online but really enjoyed it. It was done very well.”

Karen Cooper
Lymphoedema specialist
Malvern, Worcestershire, UK

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Course Testimonial: Dr Enid Taylor ND, BSc

Dr Enid Taylor ND, BSc“The training course had a good presentation style, was engaging and easy to attend to.  There were lots of practIcal applications. I was happy with the experience.”

Dr Enid Taylor ND, BSc
Naturopath & Clinic Director
Hertz, UK

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