A first-of-its-kind collaboration between the Hadassah Medical Organization and the Israeli company P-Cure will enable Hadassah to provide proton therapy radiation to cancer patients, a treatment that is available in only one percent of hospitals around the world.
Until now the treatment was not available in Israel. Anyone who needed this therapy had to fly abroad, stay for long stretches of time and personally fund the over $100,000 cost. Through this clinical partnership, treatment will take place at no cost to the patients or health insurance funds.
P-Cure, established in 2007, reports that more than half of all cancer patients worldwide are treated with radiation, either as a sole treatment or together with surgery or pharmaceuticals. However, the great majority of radiation therapy treatments are done with x-rays, which, because they are not precisely targeted to the tumor, can cause damage to healthy soft tissue around the cancerous growth. Proton radiation can more accurately target the tumor, which makes it more efficient without causing side effects.
Traditional proton therapy, however, because of the very large size of the treatment system, requires more hospital space than most medical institutions have available. It is also very expensive to install and operate. P-Cure’s innovative technology minimizes the size of the therapy system and, therefore, the space needed to house it, while also improving its clinical abilities.
Dr. Michael Marash, chief executive officer of P-Cure, explains, “The radiation system knows how to identify and focus on the cancerous growth itself and to identify changes within, even small ones, toward which treatment is then focused.”
Prof. Aron Popovtzer, director of the Sharett Institute of Oncology, reports, “Initially, we will start with patients who have no other treatment options and patients with growths that are too close to strategic parts of the body and, therefore cannot be treated with regular radiation. In particular, these are patients with ear, nose, and throat cancers and recurring brain cancers.”
Hadassah Director-General Prof. Yoram Weiss comments, “I am delighted that we have reached this moment when, for the first time, we launch this treatment for our patients as part of a clinical trial. We have been developing this treatment, hand in hand with P-Cure, for more than two years. This close collaboration between our team of professionals, which includes oncology experts, physicists, and physicians, and P-Cure’s team has brought us to the clinical use of this unique system. Hadassah is stepping up to the plate in advancing this ‘blue and white’ product, which will be marketed internationally.”