Protons at a Fraction of the Cost

In the next couple of years, single-room proton systems are expected for under $30 million. This is exceptional considering the current technology starts at $100 million. To date, there are nine proton beam therapy centers in the U.S., and several more systems are scheduled to open in the next few years. The only thing keeping the market from exponential growth is the current price tag.

The drive behind the market is outcomes. NIH studies show that proton therapy offers superior ability to conform dose distribution to a tumor in comparison to photon technology. This allows protons to more effectively reach lesions located deep within the body and surrounded by critical structures.

Furthermore, proton therapy reduces dose levels to the healthy tissue, which allows improved long-term outcomes. One seven-year follow-up study for the proton-treated patients indicated that second malignancies were seen in 6.4% of the patients. In comparison, a six-year follow-up of those treated with photons had a 12.8% rate for secondary malignancies

What I find interesting is that with just about every next-generation technology, the costs generally skyrocket. But, it appears that the opposite will happen with proton therapy. Look for one of my upcoming White Papers for more information on this topic.

James Laskaris, EE, BME
James Laskaris, EE, BME, Clinical Analyst — Mr. James Laskaris is a senior emerging technology analyst at MD Buyline and has been with the company since 1994. With over 30 years of experience in the healthcare field, Mr. Laskaris is the primary analyst of high-end OR technology. He also covers issues related to the legislative and reimbursement effect on healthcare and authors a bimonthly “Issues that Matter” publication. Mr. Laskaris received his biomedical engineering degree from Southern Illinois University. His work has been published in hfm Magazine, Radiology Manager and Healthcare Purchasing News.