Healthcare Industry News:  proton 

Devices Oncology

 News Release - August 2, 2007

OncoLogics, Inc., Signs Deal to Bring Proton Beam Radiation Therapy to Louisana

LAFAYETTE, La., Aug. 2 (HSMN NewsFeed) -- OncoLogics, Inc., the most comprehensive radiosurgical and radiation therapy clinic in southwest Louisiana, announced today that it has entered into an agreement to purchase a Clinatron-250(TM) proton beam radiation therapy (PBRT) system from Still River Systems.

OncoLogics will become one of very few treatment centers in the nation, and the only center in Louisiana, to commit to this technology, which many in the medical community consider the gold standard for treating cancers -- especially in children and young adults.

Currently, only five U.S. health care facilities have large-scale proton beam radiation therapy systems which weigh more than 440,000 pounds, require almost 100,000 square feet of space, and carry a price tag upward of $150 million for the equipment and building. A group of physicists and scientists from MIT and other academic proton research facilities have spent years developing a smaller, more economical cyclotron that can produce and deliver protons for radiation therapy. This new technology still comes with a hefty price tag. To date, nine centers have committed to purchasing this new technology -- among them are MD Anderson -- Orlando, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Oklahoma University's Cancer Institute, Tufts New England Medical Center, and OncoLogics.

"proton Beam Radiation Therapy is among the best on the market for treating cancers in the head and neck, chest, brain and abdomen," says Dr. M. Maitland DeLand, FACR, FACRO, President and Medical Director of Lafayette based OncoLogics, Inc. "Impressive clinical outcomes have also been reported for stereotactic applications, arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), prostate, lung, and ocular treatments. It is also the preferred radiation treatment for pediatric patients."

"There have been enormous advances in external beam standard photon therapy, but their focus is to alter the beam of radiation, use different treatment planning methodologies, or change the delivery system to achieve the maximum dose of radiation to the tumor, while delivering the least amount to other tissue, organs and bones. Photons by nature, however, deliver a higher radiation dose at the point of entry into the body, and then gradually deliver lower doses along the beam path, until they leave your body. The beauty of the technology is that, unlike photon systems, protons enter the body, slow down, and then stop IN the tumor. This allows them to deposit their energy within the malignant tissue, preventing the beams from exiting the body and causing any damage to the tissue along the way. This is especially important when treating children and young adults, because it significantly reduces the risk of damage to surrounding tissues and organs, which become evident as the patients age."

"It is also extraordinarily beneficial when treating tumors that lie next to critical structures, such as the spinal cord or ocular nerve. The nature of the beam itself will, in some cases, reduce treatment times, reduce the number of treatments, and is a boon to patients whose health precludes cancer surgery. These are just a few of the benefits of proton therapy."

"Although proton beam therapy has been used to treat cancer patients for many years, it is been cost prohibitive for common use and therefore not readily available to cancer patients throughout the world. Even at those few centers where proton therapy is available, there are long waiting lists for use and patients are given certain priority based upon type of cancer, age, degree of illness, etc. While the price tag is still well over $20 million for the equipment and facility, it's a far cry from the $150 million centers and is a quantum leap in radiation therapy," says DeLand.

"Still River is manufacturing the major components of the machine, which will take some time to complete, test and assemble. In the meantime, OncoLogics is considering site location and will begin developing construction plans for the vault, which is more complex than most. This process will take a couple of years before we begin treating patients with the new technology," says DeLand, "but we are looking forward to its arrival and are excited to provide this kind of advancement to our patients. With the machine centrally located in the state, we anticipate patients will come from a 100 to 200 mile radius to receive treatment."

OncoLogics is a regional, premier radiation oncology provider, known as a source of education, resources, treatment, and preventative care in the communities it serves. OncoLogics currently has offices in Crowley, Lafayette, Morgan City, New Iberia, Opelousas, and Laurel, Miss.

For more information on proton Beam Radiation Therapy, contact Nichole Forstall, 337.237.2057, or visit OncoLogics online at

Source: OncoLogics

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