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Doctor Torunn I. Yock is the Director of Pediatric Radiation Oncology, Chair of the Quality Improvement Committee in Radiation Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Professor at Harvard Medical School. She received her MD from Harvard Medical School and acquired a Masters in Community Health as a Fulbright Scholar from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. Her residency was at Massachusetts General Hospital. Her clinical practice is now comprised mostly of pediatric patients and survivors of childhood cancer. Dr. Yock’s research career has focused on measuring health outcomes to further improve upon cure rates and the quality of the survivorship in pediatric cancer patients and applying big data principals to research repositories. Her research has focused on the role of proton radiotherapy in pediatric cancer and both its power to mitigate late effects in our childhood cancer survivors, but also its potential pitfalls. Dr. Yock is the Primary Investigator of multiple pediatric protocols and she holds grant funding from a variety of sources including the NCI. She also participates in collaborative research with the Children’s Oncology Group, sitting on the Brain Tumor and Soft Tissue Sarcoma Committees, and is leading an NCI/MGH-sponsored multi-institutional registry enrolling pediatric patients treated with modern proton and photon radiotherapy and have accrued over 2600 patients. She has also authored over 120 articles and chapters and is an active member of ASTRO, ASCO, PROS, SIOP and serves on the American Board of Radiology to develop both the written and oral board examinations.
View my most recent research
Dr. Yock is currently the director of Pediatric Radiation Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital which is the largest pediatric proton program in the world, having treated over 1700 pediatric proton patients. As the primary investigator of 6 prospective proton protocols, her research focuses on quantifying the late effects and Health-Related Quality of Life in pediatric cancer patients treated with radiotherapy. In addition, Dr. Yock is leading a successful multi-site pediatric radiation registry, the Pediatric Proton/Photon Consoritum Registry (PPCR), in which over 2600 patients have been enrolled and receives support from NCI, and internal funding and some industry support as well. Dr. Yock's career has focused on measuring health outcomes to further improve upon cure rates and the quality of the survivorship in pediatric cancer patients and applying big data principles to research repositories. Her research has focused on the role of proton radiotherapy in pediatric cancer and both its power to mitigate late effects in our childhood cancer survivors, but also its potential pitfalls.
Learn more about Dr. Yock's research.
View my most recent publications at PubMed
Yock TI, Yeap BY, Ebb DH, Weyman E, Eaton BR, Sherry NA, Jones RM, MacDonald SM, Pulsifer MB, Lavally B, Abrams AN, Huang MS, Marcus KJ, Tarbell NJ. Long-term toxic effects of proton radiotherapy for paediatric medulloblastoma: a phase 2 single-arm study. Lancet Oncol. 2016 Mar;17(3):287-98.
Vatner RE, Niemierko A, Misra M, Weyman E, Goebel C, Ebb D, Jones R, Huang M, Mahajan A, Grosshans D, Paulino A, Stanley T, MacDonald SM, Tarbell NJ, Yock TI. Endocrine deficiency as a function of radiation dose to the hypothalamus and pituitary in pediatric and young adult patients with brain tumors. J Clin Oncol. 2018 Oct 1;36(28):2854-2862.
Eaton BR, Esiashvili N, Kim S, Patterson B, Weyman EA, Thornton LT, Mazewski C, MacDonald TJ, Ebb D, MacDonald SM, Tarbell NJ, Yock TI. Endocrine outcomes with proton and photon radiotherapy for standard risk medulloblastoma. Neuro Oncol. 2016 Jun; 18(6): 881-7.
Ladra ML, Szymonifka J, Mahajan A, Friedmann AM, Yeap BY, Goebel C, MacDonald SM, Grosshans D, Rodriguez-Galindo C, Marcus KJ, Tarbell NJ, Yock TI. Preliminary results of a Phase II Trial of proton radiotherapy for pediatric rhabdomyosarcoma. J Clin Oncol. 2014 Nov 20;32(33):3762-70.
Kuhlthau K, Pulsifer MB, Yeap BY, Morales DR, Delahaye J, Hill KS, Ebb D, Abram A, MacDonald SM, Tarbell NJ, Yock TI, A prospective study of health-related quality of life for children with brain tumors treated with proton radiotherapy. J Clin Oncol. 2012 Jun 10;30(17):2079-86. PMID: 22565004
Compared with traditional photon radiotherapy, proton radiotherapy irradiates less normal tissue and might improve health outcomes associated with photon radiotherapy by reducing toxic effects to normal tissue. The investigators did a trial to assess late complications, acute side-effects, and survival associated with proton radiotherapy in children with medulloblastoma.
The use of proton radiotherapy to treat the most common malignant brain tumor in children is as effective as standard photon (x-ray) radiation therapy while causing fewer long-term side effects such as hearing loss and cognitive disorders, according to a study receiving online publication in Lancet Oncology.
The use of proton radiotherapy to treat medulloblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumor in children, is as effective as standard radiation therapy while causing fewer long-term side effects.
Charlie Beecher's family described the first two years of his life as joyously normal until Charlie developed belly pain. When they found out it was cancer, the Beechers brought Charlie to the Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center, which helped Charlie return to his normal, happy childhood.
When Ryan Schlosser received his master's degree this year, he thought of everyone who supported him along the way, especially his care team at the Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center at MGHfC, who played a larger role in his success than he ever imagined.
When Alex Sheehan was diagnosed with a brain tumor at age 10, staff at the Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center helped him simply be a kid during a challenging time.
After their 8-year-old son had a successful brain tumor surgery in their home state of Washington, Joe and Leigh McGraw chose to take Tommy to MassGeneral Hospital for Children's Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center for targeted treatment. The McGraw's share the story of their experience at MGHfC in the letter and video below.
Tommy McGraw, 8 years old, received Proton Beam Therapy at Massachusetts General Hospital after having a brain tumor removed at their hometown hospital, Seattle Children’s Hospital.
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