Healthcare Industry News:  proton 

Devices Oncology

 News Release - September 25, 2007

ProCure Treatment Centers Teams with Forte Automation Systems to Enhance Proton Therapy for Cancer Patients

BLOOMINGTON, Ind.--(HSMN NewsFeed)--Forte Automation Systems, Inc. of Rockford, Ill., is partnering with ProCure Treatment Centers, Inc., to develop advanced robotic systems for proton therapy, an alternative to conventional radiation therapy for cancer patients that is being offered by an increasing number of hospitals and university medical centers across the country.

Forte will provide breakthrough robotic X-ray systems designed and engineered with ProCure for a new proton therapy facility at Central DuPage Hospital, Winfield, Ill., near Chicago. Forte also will provide state-of-the-art patient positioning systems for the new center. Pending regulatory approval by the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board (IHFPB), construction crews will break ground for the new center this fall so it could be open to treat patients in January 2010. (For more information, visit www.protontherapyillinoisnews.com).

"This highly precise medical robotic system combined with an innovative patient positioning technology will enhance patient care by maximizing the effectiveness of proton therapy," said John Henderson, ProCure's chief operating officer.

The Forte/ProCure partnership will extend to other proton treatment centers developed by ProCure.

"This partnership represents not only a win for Illinois cancer patients but also for Illinois business," said Toby Henderson, Forte's chief executive officer. "It is very exciting to bring our years of experience in automation to a field that is completely focused on saving lives. We have worked on high precision medical systems previously and find it rewarding, knowing the benefits it brings to patients."

proton therapy more precisely targets tumors than conventional X-ray (photon) radiation therapy, allowing patients to receive higher, more effective doses, and greatly reducing damage to healthy tissue near the tumor. Research shows proton therapy causes fewer short- and long-term side effects than traditional radiation therapy and improves quality of life for patients. Forte, which specializes in automated assembly, material handling and injection molding systems for manufacturing, pharmaceutical and consumer product companies, developed specialized robotic systems for the ProCure Training and Development Center, which will open in early 2008 in Bloomington, Ind.

"Forte made ProCure's training center a reality by co-designing and engineering all of the equipment for the first training center in the world that will be dedicated to proton therapy," said John Henderson. The 58,000-square-foot facility will simulate an actual proton therapy center and provide rigorous before-the-job-training for medical physicists, dosimetrists, radiation therapists and others who will staff proton centers.

ABOUT FORTE AUTOMATION SYSTEMS

Founded in 1993, Forte Automation Systems, Inc. provides the latest automation technology to manufacturing, pharmaceutical and consumer products companies. Forte actively anticipates, meets and exceeds customers' expectations by providing quality systems that maximize process efficiency, productivity and profitability. The company teamed with industry software pioneers, and was the first to develop an easy-to-use, easily integrated PC-based standard control interface. Forte revolutionized the automation industry and was the first to develop the fastest power and free conveyor that has a pallet-to-pallet transfer of less than a second.

ABOUT PROCURE TREATMENT CENTERS, INC.

ProCure Treatment Centers, Inc., based in Bloomington, Ind., was founded in 2005 by Dr. John Cameron, a particle therapy physics pioneer who was pivotal in the development of the Midwest proton Radiotherapy Institute. ProCure provides management support and a model for the complete design, construction, operation and maintenance of world-class proton therapy centers. Through partnerships with leading radiation oncologists and hospitals, ProCure's business model reduces the time, effort and cost involved in creating a facility, which allows physicians more time to focus on patient care. ProCure plans to increase the number of centers across the country to make proton therapy affordable and accessible to patients who would benefit from the treatment. For more information, visit www.ProCureCenters.com.

ABOUT proton BEAM THERAPY

Nearly 50,000 cancer patients worldwide have taken advantage of the technology to effectively treat most common types of solid tumor cancers, including head and neck, prostate, breast, lung, colorectal and brain tumors. proton therapy's ability to precisely target tumors makes it ideal for treating tumors near vital organs, especially in children. It has been shown to reduce normal tissue damage, side effects and to lessen the probability of secondary tumors later in life.(1)

In 1961, the Harvard Cyclotron Laboratory at Harvard University in Boston began treating patients with proton therapy. Advances in imaging technology such as CT, MRI and PET scans, helped researchers to better diagnose and visualize tumors and made proton therapy a more practical treatment option. The first hospital-based proton treatment center in the United States was built in 1990 at Loma Linda University Medical Center in Loma Linda, Calif.

In the United States, proton therapy is currently only available in five major academic centers: Midwest proton Radiotherapy Institute at Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind.; Frances H. Burr proton Therapy Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston (affiliated with Harvard Medical School); The proton Therapy Center at MD Anderson Cancer Center at University of Texas, Houston; Loma Linda University Medical Center, in Loma Linda, Calif.; and University of Florida proton Therapy Institute, Jacksonville, Fla. In Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania Health System proton Therapy Treatment Center is scheduled to open in 2008. The Oklahoma ProCure Treatment Center, Oklahoma City, is expected to be operational in 2009.

1. Miralbell et al. Potential reduction of the incidence of radiation-induced second cancers by using proton beam in the treatment of pediatric tumors. Int. J. Radiat. Oncol. Biol. Phys. 2002;54(3) 824-829.


Source: ProCure Treatment Centers

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