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Beaumont Health's
proton therapy center

Beaumont Health opens Michigan's first proton therapy center

Lauren Dubinsky , Senior Reporter
Beaumont Health in Royal Oak, Michigan announced today the opening of the state’s first proton therapy center.

The center, which is equipped with IBA’s Proteus One technology, also announced that it has treated its first patient.

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"We are extremely proud to announce that Beaumont successfully treated its first patient within 12 months of installation, bringing this powerful, life changing technology to its patient community in record time,” Beth Klein, president of IBA North America, said in a statement.

Construction began in February 2015 on the $40 million, 25,200-square-foot building that houses the proton therapy center. The two-story building has a one-room proton treatment facility on the first floor and the Beaumont Children’s Pediatric Oncology and Hematology program on the second floor.

The compact Proteus One single-room system uses intensity-modulated proton therapy. To provide real-time imaging, the system combines pencil beam scanning with 3-D cone beam CT, which was developed in part with researchers at Beaumont.

The facility is also equipped with other advanced technology from IBA, including the S2C2 superconducting cyclotron.

“The combination of pencil beam scanning with state-of-the-art imaging allows us to spare healthy tissue near a cancer,” said Dr. Craig Stevens, chairman of radiation oncology at Beaumont. “This will help us reduce side effects for many patients.”

He added that while all cancer patients don’t need proton therapy, it’s especially useful for children with brain tumors and for patients with head and neck tumors, as well as lung cancer. This technology will also allow him to re-treat certain cancers that could have otherwise been deemed incurable.

Beaumont built the proton therapy center with help from Proton International, which is a company that works with hospitals and physician groups to develop one- and two-room proton therapy facilities as well as larger facilities on a turnkey basis.

Its business model focuses on ensuring projects are finished on time, don’t exceed the budget and meet the needs of the institution. To do that, it provides services such as business planning, organizational structure, financing, building design and construction, installation and commissioning, equipment and staff training.

Proton International is currently working with other institutions, including the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Delray Medical Center, University Medical Center Groningen, University Hospital and Radiation Clinic Halle and the University College of London Hospital.

A market report published in January predicted that there will be 38 proton therapy centers in the U.S. by 2022 and that will exceed $1 billion that same year. This is mainly due to the fact that the treatment is now covered by Medicare and almost all health care insurers.

“As patients live longer after cancer treatment, the ability of proton therapy to reduce side effects will likely become much more important,” said Stevens. “We need to prove this, of course, with well-designed research studies.”

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