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Proton therapy goes mainstream

by Gus Iversen, Editor in Chief | October 07, 2015
From the October 2015 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

The multi-room ProBeam is treating patients at Scripps Proton Therapy Center in San Diego with Rossi’s team and also at the Rinecker Proton Therapy Center in Munich, Germany. According to Latinkic, Varian currently has 13 other confirmed contracts in some stage of development.

Those include a facility in Maryland that is expected to start treating patients by the end of the year, another at the Emory Proton Therapy Center in Georgia is currently under construction, and the recently announced New York Proton Center which has just broken ground in upper Manhattan.

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The U.S. will be home to 29 proton therapy centers by 2020, according to a report by RNCOS, a business consulting service firm, entitled “U.S. Proton Therapy Market Outlook 2020.” It projects the market will attain revenue of around $1.22 billion by 2020, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.4 percent between 2014 and 2020.

As U.S. market saturation increases the viability of single room proton solutions, larger capital investments are being seen in countries with less access to treatment. The precise numbers are hard to find, but China is home to approximately 22 percent of the new cancer cases in the world, and 27 percent of the world’s cancer deaths, according to the World Health Organization.
“There is big momentum in China to move toward protons, they plan everything centrally and it looks like they are on the move, so we see a lot of potential there,” says Legrain. IBA is contracting to build a three-room facility in Guangzhou and another in Hebei which, with five treatment rooms, will likely be one of the largest facilities on the planet when it opens next year.
Mevion recently announced the formation of a joint venture with Chinese investors to set up marketing, sales, service, and manufacturing operations in China. It also received an equity investment worth up to $200 million to help it create greater access to the treatment.

Jachinowski says there are currently two proton therapy centers in China. “One is treating in Shanghai, but only a low number of patients.” That facility was built by Siemens before it stopped building proton centers, the other is a two-room ProteusPLUS facility located in Zibo.
“You have the Chinese market and government involvement and participation, then you start to look at a large population base — their small cities are what we in the U.S. consider our largest cities,” says Latinkic, who describes the Chinese market as “erupting” and says Varian is mindful of China’s demand for greater access to treatment.

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