LIVERMORE, CA--(Marketwire - February 07, 2011) - Compact Particle Acceleration Corporation (CPAC) announced today that it has demonstrated proton acceleration at its facility in Livermore, Calif., using its revolutionary compact particle accelerator technology. With achievement of this milestone, CPAC further enables the development of the world's most precise and compact accelerator for use in proton therapy systems, which has the potential to advance the boundaries of cancer care.
Radiation therapy has been used in the treatment of cancer for many years, but most of the treatments have been done with X-rays, which are successful in destroying tumors but can also damage healthy tissue around the tumor. In contrast, protons deposit their energy near the end of their path and have little lateral scatter. As a result, the beam energy can be precisely delivered to the tumor volume without seriously harming surrounding tissues or adjacent critical organs.
Proton therapy is a particularly compelling treatment for pediatric and some hard-to-treat cancers, such as those requiring high doses of radiation or tumors that are close to sensitive structures. But, because of the cost and size of proton therapy systems, this type of therapy is limited to approximately 30 centers around the world. With its pioneering work on developing a compact proton accelerator, CPAC aims to make this treatment accessible to every cancer center.
CPAC's accelerator is a highly compact system based on the dielectric-wall accelerator (DWA) technology developed by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). It is expected that CPAC's proton accelerator will be capable of accelerating protons to more than 150 MeV and will cost less, be substantially smaller and offer clinicians greater flexibility than traditional proton accelerators.
"This is a significant step forward toward commercializing the DWA for proton therapy," said George Caporaso, Ph.D., LLNL's lead investigator on the collaboration with CPAC. "The achievement of first beam by CPAC demonstrates that the compact accelerator technology pioneered by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is being successfully transferred to industry."
CPAC has assembled a world-class team of engineers, scientists, development partners, suppliers and scientific advisors and operates within a state-of-the-art facility in Livermore, Calif., in close proximity to LLNL.
"Working jointly with LLNL, we have overcome the two main technical challenges that had been pacing this program since its inception: we now have both high gradient insulators and photoconductive switches that can meet the requirements for the development of a commercial system," said Anthony Zografos, Ph.D., CPAC's vice president and general manager. "In addition, using commercially available components, CPAC has developed a novel architecture that allowed us to prove the DWA concept in our facility, in a fraction of a time that would have taken otherwise."
Thomas "Rock" Mackie, Ph.D., chair of CPAC's Clinical Advisory Board added: "The acceleration of protons by CPAC represents not only the successful transfer of the DWA technology from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, but also the marriage of standard injector and radio frequency quadropole (RFQ) technology to the new accelerator. This way, CPAC can shift its focus to the accelerator."
According to Zografos, "We plan to have an integrated, fully-functional prototype accelerator system in early spring. We will extract clinical quality beam and demonstrate full intensity-modulated proton therapy (IMPT) capability in the next 12 months. Our first shipment to a clinical site is planned for the first half of 2013."
About Compact Particle Acceleration Corporation (CPAC)
Compact Particle Acceleration Corporation (CPAC) is a spinout of TomoTherapy Incorporated. It is developing and commercializing a highly compact proton therapy system powered by the dielectric-wall accelerator (DWA), a revolutionary proton accelerator that has a substantially smaller structure and greater flexibility than other systems. This breakthrough in size and power is made possible by three key inventions from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL): a high-gradient insulator that allows for substantial increases in voltage-holding capacity; dielectric materials that are embedded with nanoparticles to facilitate the transmission and isolation of extremely high voltages; and optical switches that can control high-power loads at ultra high speeds in a very compact size. CPAC believes these enabling platform technologies that combine extreme switching speed and power handling capability will enable the creation of a proton therapy system that accessible to all cancer centers and their patients. For more information, visit www.CPAC.pro.