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The Future of Proton Therapy

All proton therapy equipment makers are racing to make their products smaller, more efficient, and less expensive. Here are links to some of the major manufacturers, who describe the benefits of their particular products.

IBA

Mevion

Varian

ProTom International

ProNova Solutions

IBA has a fifty percent market share, even though it is in Europe. Shipping a 200-ton cyclotron across the ocean is no small task.

ProTom International is developing proton tomography, a far more accurate type of imaging that uses protons rather than x-rays. For this purpose, they use 350 Mev (350 million electron volts), which require a synchrotron to produce. Most cyclotrons max out at around 250 Mev. Other companies are presumably also looking into proton imaging. The ProTom equipment needs less shielding and less space, so it can fit into existing buildings in place of their current LINAC (X-ray) machines.

The Radiance 330 by ProTom is pictured above. They are currently finishing up an installation at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Equipment manufacturer IBA conducted a survey which quantified some of the barriers to the spread and acceptance of proton therapy. Here is what they found.

For proton therapy to succeed it will need to be less expensive, better known, and accepted by insurance. There will also be a huge need for technicians and a wider distribution of proton centers. Although there have been hundreds of studies favoring proton therapy, some critics feel they don't comprise a convincing body of evidence, causing them to feel that proton therapy is still unproven. Here is how the IBA survey predicted the future.

Personally, I feel 68% is a very low number. I am 100% certain that proton therapy will continue to grow. How rapidly is another question. The progress has been slower than previous optimistic predictions. Some centers are not profitable, and a few have gone out of business. On the other hand, some are working long shifts to handle the demand. The patients themselves and the superior results will build to an irresistable force. Proton therapy is definitely the cancer treatment of the future. Better yet, it is available right now.

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Our other websites are also of interest:

www.proton-therapy-centers.com (A list of proton therapy centers in the U.S.)

www.proton-beam-therapy.com (Our proton therapy blog.)