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Coming soon: "Turnkey" proton therapy centers

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | May 12, 2011
Artist's rendering of
the center. (Courtesy
Proton therapy centers require hundreds of millions of dollars to build and involve contracting with numerous vendors to plan the site and install the particle accelerators, shielding and imaging equipment.

But two companies are touting a new, one-stop shopping solution.

Royal Philips Electronics and cyclotron-maker Ion Beam Applications S.A. said this week they planned on launching a "turnkey" solution, with the first center likely opening somewhere in the Middle East in the next 12 months. Philips declined to name the country.

[Read about how many centers are in development in the U.S.]

"The ambition has been from IBA a solution that keeps a cap on your cost and also is predictable for deployment," Dr. Fredrik Gyllenram, managing director of international strategic accounts with Philips Medical Systems, told DOTmed News. "The cost is half or less than half what a normal proton center costs."
Bird's-eye view
of the center.
(Courtesy Philips)

Typical academic-based centers cost between 100 million and 150 million euros (approximately $143 million to $214 million), he said.

The new project, dubbed Proteus TK2, will use IBA's new small-footprint cyclotron, the Proteus One. The one treatment room system is about one-third the size of current gantry configurations, IBA said last year in an announcement.

Gyllenram said about half a dozen centers in North America, Europe and Asia have expressed interest in the new project since it was first shared at Arab Health 2011 in Dubai in January.

In the turnkey concept, Philips provides CT, MRI and patient monitoring equipment, and helps design anxiety-reducing treatment room interiors. IBA provides the cyclotron, gantry and architectural plans, from floor planning to bunker construction and radiation shielding, Gyllenram said.

"It's a complete concept," he said.
Inside the treatment
room. (Courtesy Philips)

Separately this week, IBA said Swedish company Elekta AB would supply its MOSAIQ oncology electronic medical record system and other workflow and patient management tools for the Proteus TK2 project. Elekta, based in Stockholm, makes the Gamma Knife radiosurgery device.

IBA and Philips aren't, perhaps, the only companies trying to offer a turnkey package for protons. Advanced Particle Therapy, based in San Diego, is positioning itself as an all-in-one contracting company.

Currently, APT is managing the design, equipment vendor selection and market analysis for the Scripps Proton Therapy Center, under construction and set to open in 2013. And last month, Emory University signed a letter of intent with the company to look into bringing proton therapy to Georgia.

"Any new development that provides more treatment slots and greater access for patients who seek proton therapy is a good thing," Leonard Arzt, executive director of the National Association for Proton Therapy, told DOTmed News by e-mail, when asked about the Proteus project.

IBA and Philips said they'll be presenting the plans for their new endeavor at the Particle Therapy Co-Operative Group conference, which runs from May 8-14 in Philadelphia, and the European Society of Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology's congress in London, from May 8-12.

IBA, based in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, has installed 400 particle accelerators worldwide, according to the company's website.

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