McLaren in Flint First in World to Add Leo Cancer Care Treatment Technology

The McLaren Proton Therapy Center, located in Flint and part of the Detroit Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, states it will be the first in the world to deliver proton therapy to patients with Leo Cancer Care’s upright treatment technology.
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The upright proton therapy treatment from Leo Cancer Care will debut in Flint's McLaren Proton Therapy Center. // Courtesy of McLaren Health Care
The upright proton therapy treatment from Leo Cancer Care will debut in Flint’s McLaren Proton Therapy Center. // Courtesy of McLaren Health Care

The McLaren Proton Therapy Center, located in Flint and part of the Detroit Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, states it will be the first in the world to deliver proton therapy to patients with Leo Cancer Care’s upright treatment technology.

Through the agreement, Leo Cancer Care will install two upright units at the McLaren Proton Therapy Center, with the first patients set to receive care via the treatment delivery system within the next two years upon receipt of FDA’s clearance for the technology.

“McLaren and Karmanos are committed to delivering world-class, comprehensive cancer care right in Genesee County,” says Chris Candela, president and CEO of McLaren Flint. “The aim of our innovative partnership with Leo Cancer Care is to provide greater access to proton therapy for patients throughout Michigan and around the globe.”

The addition of the Leo Cancer Care technology and expansion of the McLaren Proton Therapy Center is part of a larger project to grow and improve McLaren Flint’s Comprehensive Cancer Program.

“The goal of Leo Cancer Care and McLaren Proton Therapy Center’s collaboration is to bring proton therapy to more patients, and we know there are clear advantages with proton therapy,” says Stephen Towe, CEO of Leo Cancer Care. “The McLaren Proton Therapy Center is well positioned to become the first to potentially treat patients with the revolutionary Leo Cancer Care technology.”

Towe noted research highlighting that upright positioning results in less organ movement during treatment while creating better communication channels between the patient and clinician.

Proton therapy delivers highly targeted doses of radiation to cancer cells while sparing healthy tissue, reducing side effects, and resulting in successful outcomes. Benefits of delivering radiation therapy to patients seated in an upright position include comfort and a better patient experience compared to laying down on a table.

McLaren has ordered two Marie units from Leo Cancer Care, with both fitting into an area marked for a single conventional rotating gantry, where patients lay horizontally, at its existing proton center.

With the equipment taking up half the space, and effectively half the cost of conventional radiotherapy units, the agreement has important commercial and economic benefits for the health care provider.

“Once we saw the site, we explained we could add a dividing wall through the middle of the room and put two of our treatment devices in the same space that they were originally going to have one conventional gantry. It effectively doubles patient throughput from the same footprint,” says Towe.

The Marie units feature dual-energy diagnostic quality CT at the treatment isocenter to enable adaptive therapy that will improve reliability, reduce maintenance costs, and allow for imaging in an upright position.

“McLaren will realize a sizable capital cost reduction by implementing the Leo Cancer Care upright positioning and imaging system instead of our present three story, one hundred plus ton, rotating gantry solution,” says Daniel Medrano, co-director of research and development for the McLaren Proton Therapy System.

The equipment does not currently have a CE mark in the EU, or an FDA 510k clearance in the US, but Leo is in the process of acquiring those regulatory approvals, which will be in place prior to the installation at the Flint site.

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