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Mevion proton therapy unit arrives in New Jersey

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | July 18, 2012
Mevion Medical Systems Inc. said Tuesday that it delivered one of its smaller footprint proton therapy units to a hospital in New Jersey, as the Garden State is set to welcome its second working proton therapy center.

The Littleton, Mass.-based company said it took a day to ship the Mevion S250 proton therapy system from Massachusetts to its new home on the campus of the 600-bed Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J.

The device, a superconducting synchrocyclotron, has a more compact design than most systems used to power the 10 proton therapy centers currently operating in the United States. Partly as a result of its smaller footprint, the centers using Mevion technology have much lower quoted construction totals than some of the earlier proton facilities, which often cost upwards of $120 million to build.

Mevion received Food and Drug Administration clearance on the device, which fires protons at energies up to 250 MeV to blast cancers, in June.

Now that the device is getting installed, the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital expects the $20 million in-the-works N.J. center to start treating patients as early as next year, a hospital spokesman told DOTmed News by e-mail.

As for the size of the center, it will include 4,500 square feet of existing clinical space under renovation. There will also be room for future expansions, the hospital said.

The N.J. delivery isn't the first system Mevion has shipped. In October, installation began at the Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Mo. That center, also believed to cost $20 million, is expected to start treating patients in the fourth quarter of this year, the hospital told DOTmed News last month. At least two other sites are also in the process of installing a Mevion system or building centers to run one, including Oklahoma University in Oklahoma City.

The coming N.J. center will be the Garden State's second clinical proton facility. ProCure Treatment Centers Inc, a developer of for-profit centers, opened its third center, and the nation's tenth, in Somerset, N.J., this spring.

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