There is more to proton shielding than meets the eye

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There is more to proton shielding than meets the eye

por Philip F. Jacobus, CEO | October 12, 2015
From the October 2015 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

PJ: What about specialized concrete blocks that are used to stack and build a shield brick by brick?

AS: Certainly, this will save time during the construction phase but I am not sure that anyone has already used them for the construction of a real proton therapy site. But yes, this technology is tested and validated for radiation modalities like protons and neutrons, not only high energy photons. It is relatively expensive and not for everybody. But on the other hand one can gain some time on the construction, which can be important. Also I can imagine that conduit construction could be easier when such modules or bricks are used.

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PJ: What about construction time?

AS: We have now worked on two Gamma Knife centers and they take about a month to produce. We have installed multiple linear accelerators as well, and generally it takes about two to three months to prepare the site for a linear accelerator. However, a proton site can take up to a year and even longer. On a proton site, between the treatment rooms, the cyclotron, the beam line and the equipment room, almost 40 percent of the building is dedicated to equipment.
PJ: Do you have any other advice for someone considering a proton site?

AS: Establishing this proton center has been one of the most difficult projects of my career. I have already spent nine months visiting the site every day and I expect to be working, to one degree or another, over the next 24 months. However, I believe in proton therapy. I feel there is a place for different treatment options and there is definitely a place for proton therapy. I am very excited to be involved in this project and I am quite sure that our efforts here will help to save lives in the years to come.

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