Proton therapy provider IBA and Philips collaborate on cancer

A collaboration to provide advanced diagnostic and therapeutic solutions for the treatment of cancer has been announced by IBA (Ion Beam Applications SA) and Royal Philips.

The agreement covers sales, marketing, research and development (R&D) of imaging and therapy solutions in oncology. By merging their respective expertise in therapy and image guidance systems, IBA and Philips will work to develop more efficient, personalised cancer care.

High quality imaging and proton therapy offers the potential to increase confidence in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, reduce short- and long-term side effects and potentially enhance the quality of life of the patient before, during and after treatment, while reducing the cost of treatment for the healthcare system, states IBA.

Proton therapy hit the headlines globally recently when five-year-old Ashya King, who has a brain tumour, was taken abroad from Southampton General Hospital in the UK by his parents in a bid to get him the treatment, which is not available in England. The high profile case has centred attention on the pros and cons of proton therapy over standard radiotherapy in medulloblastoma, which is the form Ashya has.

Debate has focused on how crucial timing is in radiotherapy treatment and the fact that there are no proton centres in the UK (apart from the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre which treats eye cancers) means delays for those travelling abroad for treatment could negatively affect outcomes.

Proton centres are to be established in Manchester and London in 2018, although experts stress that patients will be assessed on a case-by-case basis as the benefits over standard radiotherapy are thought to be negligible in certain cancers.

The collaboration announced today enables IBA to benefit from Philips’ diagnostic imaging products offered to oncology care centres, while Philips will use IBA proton therapy solutions for customers in select markets around the world.

The companies will provide molecular imaging centres that combine IBA’s expertise in PET radioisotope production centres with Philips’ imaging and diagnostics expertise.

Olivier Legrain, CEO of IBA commented: “This is an exciting and important step for IBA. A closer collaboration with a company of Philips’ calibre and global reach, where we are able to combine both companies’ expertise and excellence in oncology care, will accelerate innovation and provide more efficient and effective solutions in molecular imaging and treatment solutions. This collaboration is an important step towards adaptive treatment of cancer and a personalised treatment approach.”

Gene Saragnese, EVP and CEO, Imaging Systems, at Philips added: “Proton therapy is one of the most exciting technological advancements in the oncology field. We look forward to collaborating with IBA to enhance access to best-in-class technology for both proton centres and molecular imaging centres.”

In 2012 Varian Medical Systems and Siemens Healthcare, which makes imaging systems as well as particle accelerators, entered into a similar development agreement.

Other companies working on proton systems include Hitachi and Mitsubishi Electric.


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