Apollo ties up with Belgian firm for new cancer therapy

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Hospital chain to invest Rs 400 crore for proton cancer treatment

Apollo Hospitals is investing Rs 400 crore to bring in proton therapy for cancer treatment by partnering with Belgium-based Ion Beam Applications (IBA). Apollo will be the first institution to have this advanced radiation therapy in Southeast Asia.

Proton therapy is an advanced and targeted cancer treatment with superior dose distribution and fewer side effects compared with conventional radiation. The therapy is more effective in treatment of tumours in delicate organs like eyes, brain, brain stem and spinal cord. There are around 50 proton therapy centres across the globe and some of the leading healthcare institutions like Mayo Clinic and MD Anderson Cancer Hospital in Houston make use of the technology.

Apart from providing the equipment, IBA also has signed a 13-year operation and management contract with Apollo. Apollo will be setting up a 20,000 sq ft facility in a two-acre land near Chennai for the proton treatment. The equipment and the facility will cost Rs 400 crore, and it is expected to become operational by 2015. The facility, which requires atomic energy clearances from the government of India, will come up near a 200-bed cancer hospital. The centre will be able to offer comprehensive cancer care with medical, surgical and radiation facilities, said Pratap C Reddy, chairman of Apollo Hospitals.

Apollo has been introducing new technologies like Cyberknife and Novallis for cancer treatment in India. The proton therapy centre will give further impetus to Apollo’s initiatives in cancer care. “In the US, proton therapy costs Rs 1.5 crore for a cancer patient and we hope to offer it at a cost of Rs 30 lakh in India,” he said.

Currently, Apollo’s hospitals in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Delhi and Madurai offer advanced oncology services. Apollo’s hospitals in Bilaspur, Bhubaneswar and Tiruchirappali also will focus on cancer care.

According to A Krishnan, CFO of Apollo Hospitals, cancer accounts for 10 per cent of the group’s revenue and 20 per cent of the patients need comprehensive cancer treatment. In Chennai hospital, cancer contributes to 12 to 14 per cent revenue.

Studies find that around three million people suffer from cancer in India and one million new cases are detected every year.

sangeethag@mydigitalfc.com

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