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Proton therapy review

This article was originally published in The Gray Sheet

Executive Summary

Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality is seeking comments through Aug. 27 on a draft "technical brief" assessing particle beam radiotherapy. The emerging technology, an alternative to photon beam radiotherapy for cancer treatment, is available at six U.S. centers (about 30 worldwide). The potential advantage of particle, most commonly proton, beams is more precise delivery of treatment that can spare healthy tissues. Because constructing a photon therapy center can cost over $100 million, AHRQ says that the advantages of particle beam therapy versus alternative interventions need to be proven in controlled trials, along with economic evaluations before the technology gets widely adopted. Particle beam therapy developers include IBA Solutions, Optivus Proton Therapy, Hitachi, Siemens and Varian Medical Systems ("The Gray Sheet" Jan. 8, 2007, p. 9)
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