Mevion Medical Systems announced its latest development in proton therapy, touting improvements that could allow its Hyperscan system to treat tumors other proton therapy systems cannot.
The announcement was made at the 58th annual ASTRO meeting this week in Boston.
CEO Joseph Jachinowski told MassDevice.com that the Littleton, Mass.-based company’s Hyperscan system is now integrated with the Adaptive Aperture, a collimator which can narrow a beam of protons to 1-3 millimeters.
The Hyperscan device is completely novel to proton therapy, Jachinowski told us, because it can scan 10-50 times faster than other pencil beam devices. The beam of protons travels so quickly that Jachinowski suggests it could be used to treat moving tumors.
“Not only do the patients benefit because the protons stop at a well-defined depth,” Jachinowski told us, “but also on the periphery of the field, it has a very sharp dose gradient. The advantage of that is that you can abut a radiation field very close to a critical structure without irradiating that critical structure.”
Proton therapy takes advantage of the properties specific to particles. When physicians treat patients with X-rays, which are waves, the X-ray doesn’t stop if it hits the target – it will continue to travel through the patient. A proton is a particle, so its energy will define where it will stop.
“Because of that characteristic, you can take a proton and there’s no exit dose – there’s nothing that goes beyond the tumor,” Jachinowski told us. “You can control how the protons stop in the tumor such that you get a uniform dose across the tumor volume.”
In August 2015, Mevion shelved a $69 million IPO and told us that it wanted to stay in the private markets to raise capital and for “more flexibility” in development phase.
“We had the ability, because of the strength of our business model, to raise capital privately and we ended up going that route,” he said. But Jachinowski told us this week that going public is still in the cards for Mevion.
“I think it’s something that certainly we will do sometime in the future. I think we have the luxury of picking our time. I don’t think it’s anything that will happen in 2017 but I do think it’s something in the foreseeable future.”