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Proton Therapy Center Boosts Software To Fight Cancer

Pro Nova will equip the IU Health Therapy Center with modern software and proton scanning equipment.

Proton Center

Photo: Elias Orfan/WTIU News

Signs on equipment in the proton center warn of high voltage.

Officials at the Indiana University Health Proton Therapy Center are hopeful a new partnership will help them improve cancer treatment for patients and caregivers.

IU Health Proton Therapy Center signed a two year contract last month with the Knoxville based proton therapy system manufacturer ProNova Solutions.

Pro Nova will equip the therapy center with modern software and proton scanning equipment.

In exchange, the proton center will give ProNova use of its facilities and access to its intellectual property.

IU Health Proton Therapy Center CEO and President Peter Johnstone says the agreement will lead to better patient care.

“It’s a win-win for us.  We get their expertise to come in with the software and they get our expertise from the cyclotron operations side,” he says. ”Plus they get to see patients getting treated all the time, and I think they get to see what we’re really all about.”

Among the projects the groups will be collaborating on is a more precise way to administer cancer treatment called: the pencil beam scanner.

Much of the research will be focused on the pencil beam scanning, which has the ability to minimize collateral damage to healthy tissue surrounding a cancerous tumor in the body. ProNova Solutions’ President, Joe Matteo, says that while this opportunity is advantageous for patients, his company and IU Health benefit as well.

“Within this specific IU agreement, we have tasks and goals and there are very measurable outcomes,” he says. ”I fully expect that we will have a long standing ongoing technology development relationship.”

ProNova currently employs 10 full and part time staff in Bloomington.

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