In comparison to standard x-ray therapy, proton therapy allows an increased dose of radiation to a tumor and by reducing the amount of radiation to healthy tissue. As a result, it provides the best possible option for using radiation to control and eliminate tumors with the least short and long term toxic side effects. Currently less than 1% of all radiation therapy patients receive proton therapy while the number of patients that would benefit substantially from their use with current protocols is estimated to be over 30%. The major barriers to greater utilization of proton therapy are the size and cost of the facilities. The layout of the current proton therapy treatment centers is dominated by the size of the iso-centric gantries that rotate the proton beam dose delivery system around the patient. ProCure's focus for this project is to invent a new gantry concept using modern robotics and high temperature superconducting magnets that will greatly reduce the gantry size and mass, the power needed to operate it and consequently the contribution of these gantries to the facility cost. ProCure proposes to research new technology that would reduce the gantry mass by an order of magnitude and cost by a factor of three. Phase I research will allow ProCure to determine the optimal design and components needed for a compact and low cost gantry based on novel beam scanning concepts and the use of high temperature superconducting magnet technology for use in Intensity Modulated Proton Therapy. In the first 12 months of Phase II, ProCure will work on constructing prototype magnets for the selected gantry concept, build key temporary magnet supports and nozzle components and in the next six months of Phase II, ProCure will carry out experiments using a full scale system in the Proton Dosimetry Test Facility recently commissioned at the Indiana University Cyclotron Facility. In Phase III, ProCure will complete the tests of the magnetic and nozzle operation at IUCF and make initial submission to the FDA. ProCure will construct a first prototype of the full rotating mechanical support system for the gantry and install the full system for mechanical system tests. In parallel, ProCure will start the acquisition process for the first systems that will be installed. Finally, FDA complete system testing for full FDA 510k approval will be performed.
Proton therapy provides the best possible option for using radiation to control and eliminate tumors with the least short and long term toxic side effects;however, only less than 1% of all radiation therapy patients receive proton therapy. The major barriers to greater utilization of proton therapy are the size and cost of the facilities. ProCure's new proton beam delivery concept will greatly reduce the size and mass of the system and the power needed to operate it, and consequently, help to bring this highly effective form of cancer treatment to the mainstream of radiation therapy.