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Updated: January 22, 2013 03:25 IST

City hospital looks at beating cancer

Special Correspondent
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The Hindu

Apollo Hospitals on Monday announced a proposal to establish a proton therapy centre for cancer treatment in Chennai. The hospital will buy the equipment, IBA Proteus PLUS, from Ion Beam Applications, a Belgium-based company.

Proton therapy is a kind of radiation that uses specialised particles – protons, to kill cancer cells. The proton therapy equipment destroys the DNA of cancer cells, in what is considered a treatment that improves the survival rates of those with cancer.

The facility will come up on two acres in the hospital on Old Mahabalipuram Road and will be set up at a cost of Rs. 400 crore. The company, which specialises in cancer diagnostics and treatment, has installed its state-of-the-art technology in 25 centres across the world, of which 13 are operational. The centre in Chennai, to be constructed by L&T will be ready by 2015. It is expected to benefit around 3.5 billion people, according to Prathap C. Reddy, chairman of the Apollo Hospital group.

“For children this is the choice. It (proton therapy) could be used to treat lesions in young, delicate areas like the spine and eye,” Dr. Reddy said.

Though world over, the five-year survival rate for cancer is less than 40 per cent, early diagnosis of cancer can ensure a cure. “At present, it requires Rs. 1.5 crore to go the US for treatment but the new centre will bring down the cost of treatment,” he said. The machine, with a 20-year life span, is expected to help the hospital conduct clinical trials and research too. Dr. Reddy said Apollo Hospitals had embarked on the venture as more than 25 per cent of their cancer patients were from abroad.

Olivier Legrain, chief executive officer of IBA said the company would set up three treatment rooms with pencil beam scanning capability besides providing all the equipment and maintaining it.

Proton therapy uses high-energy proton beams and the doses are delivered directly to the tumour destroying the DNA of cancer cells.

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