High cost of nuclear medicine weighed

Dec 26, 2007

U.S. advances in the use of nuclear accelerators to fight cancer are being tempered by concerns about the high cost of such equipment with uncertain benefits.

Scientists say the particle accelerators target cancer cells more accurately than X-rays, The New York Times reported Tuesday. But some experts say the rush to newer, more expensive technology -- which can cost more than $100 million a pop -- is what is pushing the high cost of healthcare in the United States, the Times said.

"I'm fascinated and horrified by the way it's developing," said Anthony L. Zietman, a radiation oncologist at Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital, which operates a proton center. "This is the dark side of American medicine."

Proponents say the accelerators will ultimately mean better treatment for cancer patients. More than 800,000 Americans undergo radiation therapy each year.

"Every X-ray beam I use puts most of the dose where I don't want it," said Dr. Jerry D. Slater, head of radiation medicine at Loma Linda University Medical Center in California.

But opponents say the newest form of X-rays diminish any advantages from proton therapy.

"There are no solid clinical data that protons are better," said Dr. Theodore S. Lawrence, chairman of radiation oncology at the University of Michigan.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Sperm bank sued after donor details emerge 7 years later

Related Stories

India's TCS yearly profits muted on FX volatility

49 minutes ago

India's biggest outsourcing firm Tata Consultancy Services Thursday reported only a marginal rise in its earnings for the just-ended financial year citing volatile currency markets and a sluggish global economy.

Men donate competitively on women's fundraising webpages

57 minutes ago

Men give more money through fundraising websites after seeing that other men have donated large amounts and when the fundraiser is an attractive woman, according to new UCL and University of Bristol research.

Important study of how climate affects biodiversity

57 minutes ago

How does climate change affect the occurrence and distribution of species? This is a key question in the climate debate, and one that is hard to answer without information about natural variation in species abundance. Now ...

Recommended for you

Cardinal Health paying $26.8 million in FTC settlement

11 hours ago

Cardinal Health will pay $26.8 million as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over charges it monopolized the sale in 25 markets of diagnostic drugs known as low-energy radiopharmaceuticals.

Selecting the right tool for the job

Apr 14, 2015

Randomized clinical trials of new drugs have long been considered the "gold standard" in determining safety and efficacy before drugs, biologics, vaccines or devices are introduced to the general public. However, in the case ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.