Dr. Arie Dosoretz, managing partner at Advocate Radiation Oncology in Fort Myers, aims high when he says and his partners seek ways “to differentiate ourselves” from other cancer services practices.
Few decisions can validate that statement more than the practice’s recent announcement that it plans to bring a proton therapy center to the region. The state-of-the-art machine is the first of it’s kind on the west coast of Florida and one of only a few statewide. (Others are in Miami and Orlando.) Dosoretz declines to disclose the price for the center, which will be manufactured, installed and serviced by Belgium-based Ion Beam Applications S.A. A practice that makes this kind of investment, he says, typically spends more than $20 million.
“Proton machines are far and few between,” Dosoretz tells Coffee Talk. “People literally will fly across the country for access to a proton machine.”
An advanced form of radiation that uses proton beams to target tumors and cancer cells more precisely, proton therapy has proven effective for the treatment of many common cancers, according to a statement. In addition to improved outcomes, it also reduces toxicity and side effects. “I want to provide our (current) patients and new patients every option available to them in cancer care,” Dosoretz says.
Founded in late 2019, Advocate Radiation Oncology has been growing rapidly in Southwest Florida and beyond, and now has five offices, spread from Port Charlotte to Tamarac. The proton therapy center will be in a 5,000-square-foot building, Dosoretz says, centrally located for all its patients. He hopes to have it up and running by early 2023. “There’s a lot of moving parts on this,” he says.
One of those is cost. “We are swallowing a significant amount of financial risk, there’s no way around that,” says Dosoretz, a Business Observer 40 under 40 winner in 2020. “This will cost 10 times a traditional radiology traditional radiology clinic machine…but we are very entrepreneurial. We are willing to take some risks, especially more than most other companies in health care.”