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Proton Accelerator Arrives For Installation In Flint

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FLINT — Texas-based ProTom International Inc. Monday announced the start of installation of a synchrotron accelerator, a component of the Radiance 330TM proton therapy system under development at the McLaren Proton Therapy Center.

The MPTC is being developed on the Flint campus of the McLaren Regional Medical Center and the Great Lakes Cancer Institute by McLaren Health Care and ProTom International. Proton beam therapy technology is growing more widespread in use as a form of radiation therapy for cancer.

Synchrotron installation started at the MPTC after the high-tech device arrived via commercial airline from Boston. The size and weight of the compact accelerator is in great contrast with previous generations of monolithic, expensive, and heavy proton therapy technology — some requiring special cranes, transport, rigging and even bridge reinforcements in order to reach their destinations.

The Radiance 330 accelerator and one treatment room will fit into the space of approximately two standard radiation treatment rooms, opening the possibility for the modular and scalable system to be added as an extension to an existing or remodeled radiotherapy center or configured as a stand-alone facility.

Recent collaborative research, testing, calibration and refinements with accelerator physics and engineering thought-leaders at the MIT-Bates Linear Accelerator Center on a working synchrotron have resulted in over 12 upgrades to the synchrotron. Several important advanced features optimized to provide the best possible proton beam for delivering treatment using a technology known as “scanned pencil beams” stemmed from such refinements.† Bates is part of the Laboratory for Nuclear Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Said ProTom CEO Stephen L. Spotts: “Previous generations of technology were difficult to finance, inefficient to operate, and limited in capabilities. Radiation shielding requirements were daunting and facilities to house and operate the equipment were immense. These obstacles discouraged many local hospitals from considering this technology in the past. The scaled-down facility and equipment costs of the Radiance 330 system constitute a financially viable project which is easier to implement, paving the way for community-based proton therapy.”

Spotts added that “following installation, our focus is on validating and testing the interface between the Radiance 330 and the remaining proton therapy system, followed by commissioning and securing all necessary regulatory clearances necessary for operation.”

Added McLaren Health Care CEO Philip A. Incarnati: “Construction on the McLaren Proton Therapy Center began in October 2010 and we are on track to treat our first patient in December 2012. This represents a development cycle of 23 months which compares to 36 – 40 months for first generation models, and we are on-track for a total project duration of 2 years 9 months from equipment contract to first patient. We have the opportunity to develop something that will not only help Michigan residents gain access to critical cancer-fighting technology but would make our state a vital launching ground to bring this new technology to the nation.”

McLaren Health Care includes more than 150 locations, 15,000 employees and over 10,000 network physicians. It includes nine wholly owned regional hospitals: McLaren Regional Medical Center in Flint; Lapeer Regional Medical Center; Ingham Regional Medical Center and Ingham Regional Orthopedic Hospital in Lansing; Bay Regional Medical Center and Bay Special Care Hospital in Bay City; Mount Clemens Regional Medical Center in Mount Clemens; Central Michigan Community Hospital in Mt. Pleasant and POH Regional Medical Center in Pontiac.

McLaren Homecare Group, an award-winning home health provider, and McLaren Health Plan, a top-rated commercial and Medicaid HMO are also a part of the system. To find out more about how we’re changing the future of health care, visit www.mclaren.org.

Through the combined resources of McLaren Health Care and the clinical trials research capabilities at MSU, the Great Lakes Cancer Institute is advancing the science of cancer medicine. More than 300 of the state’s most highly experienced cancer specialists, oncologists, physicians, surgeons and researchers make up GLCI, working together to beat cancer. For more information, visit www.glci.com.

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