Cancer patients residing in and near Michigan are one step closer to receiving one of the most advanced forms of treatment available with a new partnership being formed between McLaren Health Care and ProTom International, a Texas-based health care technology company.
ProTom's proton therapy system, the Radiance 330, combines the most advanced treatment capabilities in a lower-cost, small footprint solution and represents the next-generation of proton therapy. The novel compact accelerator design of the Radiance 330 supports active scanning beam delivery techniques with dynamic energy and intensity modulation for true 3-dimensional IMPT, providing superior treatment precision with significantly reduced capital and operating costs. This technology allows for proton beam centers to be built for about one-third the cost (currently upwards of $150 million) and on a much smaller footprint of conventionally built centers. Conventional proton beam centers span the size of a football field.
"We are very excited to bring this life-saving technology to Michigan," said McLaren Health Care President and CEO Philip A. Incarnati. "Proton beam therapy represents an innovation in cancer treatment, and ProTom's technology is another huge step forward in making this treatment more accessible to a greater number of people. We're proud to take a leadership role in bringing such an important advancement to patients across our state and the Midwest."
"We said from the beginning that we wanted to provide proton beam therapy to Michigan in a way that would best benefit our patients, our region, our peers and potential working partners," Incarnati said. "Our partnership with ProTom affirms that goal and, we think, brings us all a step closer to building the state's first proton beam therapy center."
Proton beam therapy delivers radiation to a more targeted area than conventional x-ray radiation, sparing more surrounding healthy tissue and organs while more directly targeting the tumor and producing fewer side effects for patients.
In July 2008, McLaren Health Care received a certificate of need from the Michigan Department of Community Health on behalf of its Great Lakes Cancer Institute - Flint campus. That CON anticipated a $168-million center to be built on the GLCI - Flint campus, near the 458-bed McLaren Regional Medical Center. Working with ProTom, McLaren expects the total cost for the jointly owned center will be approximately $50 million.
"McLaren represents an ideal partner for ProTom International. The size and geographic footprint of the system along with their strong position in cancer treatment through its Great Lakes Cancer Institute uniquely positions them to provide this cutting-edge therapy, " said ProTom CEO Stephen L. Spotts. "We are pleased to provide our Radiance 330 system for the first proton therapy facility in the state."
Therapy services provided by McLaren will be made available to all patients who require it, regardless of their ability to pay. Physicians not affiliated with McLaren Health Care will also be provided access to the center to treat their patients.
In February, McLaren contracted with The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, a leader in treating with proton beam, to determine how best to offer the therapy at McLaren's Great Lakes Cancer Institute - Flint campus. "Over the next decade, we can expect to see a remarkable transition in proton therapy," said Alfred R. Smith, Ph.D., Professor and Director, Proton Therapy Development, at M. D. Anderson and principal consultant for McLaren. "In addition to important advances in proton delivery, treatment planning and quality assurance, I expect to see the cost of proton therapy decrease to make it more financially competitive with traditional photon therapy."
"We have the opportunity to develop something that will not only help Michigan residents gain access to critical cancer-fighting technology, but would make our state a vital launching ground to bring this new technology to the nation," Incarnati said. "We look forward to rolling up our sleeves with our partners to make this happen."