Mevion is with you each step of the way – across the initial business planning process to building, buying and obtaining financing. We have the most experience of any compact therapy manufacturer to expedite your implementation and to help you start treating patients as fast as possible.
Investigate Proton Therapy
Proton therapy is the ideal treatment for many types of tumors, especially tumors in sensitive locations of the body, as well as in pediatric patients. More than 10,000 patients receive proton therapy every year and many experts believe this treatment modality should be more widely available. The clinical promise of proton therapy has been widely published in studies based on treatment planning comparisons showing that proton therapy significantly reduces radiation to healthy tissue by as much as a factor of three, and maintains high conformance to the treatment target. It is important to gain a full understanding of proton therapy and survey your institution to determine how proton therapy can benefit your cancer center.
- Review relevant research. Read the research around proton therapy to understand the clinical benefits of using proton therapy versus conventional radiation therapy.
- The Clinical Case for Proton Beam Therapy. This article discusses the benefits of proton therapy and reviews the clinical indications for proton therapy compared to traditional treatment pathways. It is a helpful resource for clinicians who are learning about proton therapy for the first time.
- Recommended Proton Therapy Indications. This document provides an overview of proton therapy indications, inclusion and exclusion criteria for various stages and diagnoses, and the scientific evidence supporting them for the following cancers: breast, esophageal, gastrointestinal, hematologic, prostate, and thoracic.
- Visit the Mevion resources page for additional information.
- Survey internal stakeholders. Explore the academic interests of clinicians and researchers at your institution and see how proton therapy can support your institution’s strategic growth.
- Analyze your market. Develop a market analysis to understand the unmet patient needs in your area.
- Explore existing facilities. Many institutions that offer proton therapy experience a halo effect of increasing patient volumes across their cancer center. Visit proton therapy centers in your area and understand how they are using proton therapy, and how the entire cancer center can benefit.
Initiate the Project and Secure Funding
Traditionally, proton therapy has been out of reach for most cancer centers due to financing, specialization, and infrastructure required to support large, conventional proton treatment equipment. Mevion pioneered the development of the first compact proton therapy system and changed the face of radiation therapy, making proton therapy a viable treatment option for all cancer centers worldwide. Follow the recommended steps below to begin the process of bringing proton therapy to your cancer center.
- Gain executive buy-in. Present the business case as to why proton therapy is an important and financially viable treatment modality.
- Develop a project team. Hospital consolidation has resulted in more decision makers being introduced to the process of obtaining proton therapy and, in some cases, lengthening the process. Every case is different so it is important to analyze the needs at your facility and select the right team.
- Identify a location. Find a suitable location to build your center and involve an architect who can determine if you can use your existing space. Mevion equipment is routinely implemented within existing buildings and may not require new construction.
- Understand financing. Perform a cost analysis and proforma to understand start-up and operational expenses. While some reimbursement challenges persist, proton therapy presents sound business fundamentals. With a smaller footprint, compact systems have significant reductions to building costs: a facility can save upwards of 50% in upfront costs. Modern, compact systems are also showing faster ROI with 350+ patients per year per room in 10-12 hour shifts.
- Secure funding. Because the pathway to offering proton therapy is complex, it is important to look to other sources of funding to expedite the process. Fundraising to advance pediatric cancer care is one way to off-set capital costs. Facilities should look to partner with community organizations to fund important initiatives such as proton therapy.
- Select vendors. Choosing the right proton therapy manufacturer is an important decision. Issues to consider are the physical and mechanical parameters of your institution, equipment capabilities (such as the approach to pencil beam scanning), equipment costs, lifetime operational expenses, the vendor’s experience installing your selected system, maintenance and parts supply, vendor reliability, and the ability to partner with the vendor for further development.
Begin Construction, Installation and Commissioning
Now that more compact proton therapy systems have been deployed, the operational workflow has been streamlined and implementation is much faster. Modern systems can be deployed with a typical cycle of a 10-month installation, 1 week acceptance, 4 to 6 weeks commissioning, and < 3 months to reach full capacity use. Vendor coordination, staff involvement and education are essential for successful system ramp-up.
- Coordinate with other vendors. There are a lot of moving parts involved in constructing a facility. It is important to have a reliable construction company and involve utilities, IT support, and radiation safety groups.
- Involve staff early. Early involvement of staff significantly expedites the process of deploying proton therapy. This is also an important time to develop your treatment strategy and involve interdisciplinary teams. If you have selected a Mevion unit, this process is streamlined due to Mevion’s patient-oriented workflow. Because Mevion units operate like an IGRT linac, the workflow is familiar to the treatment team and does not require hiring additional specialized staff.
- Educate patients and physicians. Develop materials to educate patients on proton therapy and to inform referring physicians of your expanded treatment offering. These materials could include patient FAQs, patient support materials, and announcements.
Begin Treating Patients
While treatment methods may vary by facility, in general, each proton therapy treatment lasts about 15-30 minutes per patient. If you have chosen a Mevion system, it should take less than three months for your facility to reach full capacity. Many Mevion facilities are treating 350+ patients per room in 10-12 hour shifts. More information is available here.