95.3 / 88.5 FM Grand Rapids and 95.3 FM Muskegon
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Grand Rapids is U.S. home to most advanced life-saving cancer treatment in the world

GE PETtrace 890 cyclotron on flatbed truck photo
Patrick Center

Grand Rapids “Medical Mile” is now the world headquarters of the most advanced dual-cyclotron. A nearly $20-million philanthropic gift delivering the breakthrough, life-saving cancer treatment technology to West Michigan.

“The size of a cyclotron is maybe as big as four kitchen refrigerators back-to-back.”

“They can be as heavy as a fully-loaded 737.”

Impressive in size, two General Electric PETtrace 890 cyclotrons delivered to BAMF Health located inside the Doug Meijer Medical Innovation Building at the MSU Grand Rapids Innovation Center.

The cyclotrons are particle accelerators generating radioactive isotopes. BAMF Health COO Chad Bassett explains the treatment. Within 15 minutes of their creation, cancer patients receive the particle through an IV. It seeks out the cancer. Once attached, it emits a beacon for a second isotope to seek out. “It’s like sending a tactical nuclear warhead directly to each and every tumor.”

“This will be the first time in the U.S. that people will be able to receive this therapy.” Dr. Norman Beauchamp Jr. is Michigan State University’s executive vice president for health sciences. “And the outcomes have been really extraordinary. And I think the best example is Doug Meijer.”

“I had my first cancer treatment in Germany in 2017.”

Now, FDA approved, the theranostic treatment is here. The plan is bringing it to the masses at a cost insurance companies will pick up.

“It’s reasonable. You know, as opposed to surgery. As opposed to chemo. As opposed to radiation. It’s easier, quicker, faster and virtually no side effects,” said Meijer.

There are ten cyclotron cancer treatment locations scheduled to open across the U.S. over the next four years.