Proton therapy on the cusp of major expansion

Posted by on Friday, May 29th, 2015

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Proton therapy is in growth mode worldwide because of the rise in cancer and protons’ effectiveness in treating it.

Today there are 15 proton therapy centers in the U.S. and 57 centers worldwide with 141 total treatment rooms. By 2018, based on current plans, there will be 119 proton therapy centers around the world.

By 2019, the proton therapy market is expected to reach the $1 billion mark.

In 2012, approximately 14 million new cases of cancer were diagnosed, and there were 8.2 million cancer-related deaths. That number is expected to increase by 70 percent in the next 20 years, according to the World Health Organization.

Radiation therapy is effective in destroying most cancers but can result in serious side effects and long-term health issues due to the healthy tissue it also affects. Unlike conventional radiation, proton therapy provides a carefully timed and controlled dose of radiation directly to the tumor. This significantly reduces the levels of radiation exposure to surrounding tissue, sparing key organs and resulting in many fewer side effects—both during treatment and long-term—and less risk of secondary cancer due to radiation damage.

Today, proton therapy is available to just 1 percent of the population with about 14,500 patients treated in 2014, according to the “Proton Therapy World Market Report,” produced by MEDraysintell, a market research firm.

By 2030, the world market for proton therapy is expected to be between $3.5 billion and $6.6 billion and an anticipated 300,000-600,000 patients will receive treatment, the report said.

As a relatively new treatment modality, proton therapy’s growth has progressed slowly since the first U.S. center was opened in 1990. The equipment needed to generate and deliver protons for treatment has, historically, been expensive and cumbersome to transport and install. Although Medicare allows proton therapy for many cancer indications, many private insurers do not. And recent decades have been spent gathering data to support protons’ efficacy in treating most types of cancers.

A new generation of smaller, lighter proton therapy equipment—such as a system now in development at ProNova Solutions, Provision Healthcare’s sister company—along with improved efficiency and the ability to deliver therapy in less individual treatments will reduce the cost of proton therapy and make it more available to patients.

Additionally, mounting evidence of proton therapy’s effectiveness in curing most types of cancer and improving quality of life for cancer patients has resulted in helping the technology finally come into its own, according to MEDraysintell.

For example, one report from the nation’s oldest proton therapy center has shown that less than 1 percent of men treated with proton therapy for prostate cancer suffered from major rectal and urinary side effects.

“The absence of such risks associated with other radiation treatments or surgery is a major driving factor driving the demand for proton therapy among patients,” state another marketplace report focused on proton therapy, recently released by Kuick Research.

More proton therapy centers, in turn, will result in more clinical research, better clinician understanding and greater patient awareness of its benefits—which will only help encourage further growth.

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Proton Treatment Study Reveals Excellent Breast Cancer Survival Rates and Cosmetic Outcomes

Posted by on Friday, October 31st, 2014

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The latest data from a clinical trial at Loma Linda University’s Proton Treatment and Research Center reveals excellent survival rates and cosmetic outcomes when proton therapy is used on patients with early stage invasive (non lobular) breast cancer. The study, “Partial Breast Radiation Therapy With Proton Beam: 5-Year Results With Cosmetic Outcomes,” represents the largest and most mature data available anywhere on this topic.

The phase-two clinical trial followed 100 patients who received proton therapy and were monitored for an average of five years following treatment. Results show that the in-breast recurrence-free survival rate was 97 percent with minimal side effects to the breast, lungs and heart. The cosmetic results as assessed by patients and physicians were good to excellent in 90 percent of cases, which was maintained throughout the five years of follow-up. Other published series using photon radiation treatment has shown that good cosmetic results diminish over time, likely due to increased scaring of the breast that occurs due to the increased exposure of normal breast tissues when photon radiation is used. In addition to being less toxic to the patient, the breast cancer treatment also reduced the duration of radiation treatment time from seven to two weeks.

The current standard of treatment for most women diagnosed early with breast cancer includes surgery to remove the tumor followed by photon radiation treatment performed over the entire breast. The Loma Linda University Medical Center study looked at treatment results by using highly targeted proton beam radiation to just the area where the tumor was located instead of the whole breast. With proton therapy the size of the radiation area is reduced significantly, lessening radiation exposure to the heart, lungs and other parts of the body.

The study began in 2004 with initial results presented at the American Society for Radiation Oncology meeting in 2010. These results were published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Clinical Breast Cancer in August 2011.

The breast cancer clinical trial investigated the safety and efficacy of utilizing proton beam radiotherapy to deliver partial breast radiotherapy following lumpectomy for early stage breast cancer.

Initially, 50 patients who had invasive carcinoma and had undergone a lumpectomy were enrolled in the clinical trial, with 50 more being treated after initial analysis who showed excellent results. The patients had invasive breast cancer with primary tumors that were three centimeters or less and the cancer had not metastasized. During treatment the patients were placed in a prone position in a patented, customized foam mold to improve the precision of the treatment. Proton treatment was given in 10 sessions over a two-week course.

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Provision & ProNova Join Other Proton Industry Leaders at 2014 Conference

Posted by on Friday, April 4th, 2014

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Proton therapy patient and prostate cancer survivor, Bill Barbour, was a guest speaker at the 2014 National Proton Conference in Washington, D.C.  Barbour is a proton therapy advocate that educates and shares his experience with others.  See his story in the video above.

The National Proton Conference in Washington, D.C., was a convergence of proton therapy community leaders, clinicians, advocates and vendors.  The NPC is the premier proton therapy event of the year where the best of the best in the proton community was on hand.  Highlights of the event included a presentation by Christopher Pericak of The Advisory Board Company about the state of the proton therapy marketplace in today’s health care reform climate.  Proton pioneer Dr. James Cox kicked off the conference with a keynote speech about “where we are headed.”  Dr. Elise Berliner, from the U.S. federal agency on health research and quality (AHRQ), along with Provision’s own Scott Warwick, addressed patient registries.   Joe Matteo educated to attendees about the advances of ProNova’s compact SC360 proton therapy system.  Provision Center for Proton Therapy’s medical director, Dr. Marcio Fagundes joined a panel of experts on treating breast cancer with proton therapy and Niek Schreuder, Provision chief medical physicist, spoke on the innovations in design, equipment and engineering.  Additionally, the economics of proton therapy, planning, developing and launching a proton center, plus treating breast, head and neck cancers, and much more was presented.

Another highlight was the announcement of the results of a 2014 NAPT/Dobson DaVanzo report on an in-depth “quality of life” survey of nearly 4,000 prostate patients treated with proton therapy at multiple centers across the U.S.  The conference was a huge success and an important collaboration of clinical and technological efforts in the proton industry.

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Five-Year Proton Therapy Study For Prostate Shows 99% Disease-Free Survival

Posted by on Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Red Journal

A recent study by the University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology showed that proton therapy is the most effective treatment for prostate cancer.  This study reported very effective outcomes for low, intermediate and high risk patients with prostate cancer.  It also demonstrated minimal toxicity to the healthy tissues surrounding the prostate resulting in excellent patient-reported outcomes with limited side effects.  Five-year disease free survival rates were 99%, 99%, and 76% in low-, intermediate-, and high-risk patients, respectively.  This compares to rates of 97%, 85%, and 67% reported from a five-year study conducted by Memorial Sloan Kettering using IMRT (Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy).

“The University of Florida study is based on physician-reported and patient-reported outcomes, and it adds convincingly to a large body of evidence regarding the efficacy and unique advantages of proton therapy for prostate cancer,” said Marcio Fagundes, M.D., a board-certified radiation oncologist and medical director of the Provision Center for Proton Therapy. “At the same time, this report debunks the one or two widely reported studies that used sub-standard procedures and surrogate data to draw flawed conclusions.”

Proton Therapy side effects were reported to be minimal.  Gastrointestinal and urologic side effects were 1% and 5.4% respectively.  An earlier study claimed that proton therapy may be more toxic than IMRT.  This study shows that claim to be false.

You can see the complete study at the following link: http://www.redjournal.org/article/S0360-3016(13)03310-5/abstract

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