Proton therapy: Further evolution of the most advanced radiotherapy for patients

October 22, 2021
Rad Oncology Proton Therapy
From the October 2021 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

The greatest innovations in proton therapy promoting its wide adoptability will likely come from its differential biological response, compared to photons. Being a particle therapy, protons show fundamental differences in their interactions with cells, leading to more complex and clustered DNA damage. A significant subset of human tumors harbor defects in DNA repair that can be lethally affected by protons through this pathway, thus, proving improved efficacy for patients. In addition, the lower integral dose and reduced toxicity of proton therapy could potentially pair very well with immunotherapy, since it would spare lymphocytes, the key effector cells mounting an immune response against tumor in the body. Finally, proton-cyclotrons, unlike photon machines, are technologically ready to clinically deliver FLASH and ARC. FLASH is a new kind of therapy that employs ultra-high dose delivery, while showing equivalent tumor efficacy and impacting the immune system favorably. ARC combines the advantages of PBS with conformal delivery while the gantry is rotating. This yields a significant increase in patient acquisition and throughput.

Since its inception, proton therapy has been an important component of radiation treatments. With these significant innovations and cost-containing measures, proton therapy should become a preferred treatment option for the next generation of both patients and radiation oncologists.

About the author: Frederic Genin is the president of IBA Proton Therapy North America.

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