5. Custom proton beam treatmentsMayo Clinic in recent years has spent hundreds of millions of dollars creating proton beam centers for super-precise cancer treatment. The practice’s Division of Engineering so far has delivered on about 65 projects allowing for custom proton beam treatments, according to Wehde.
“We created devices and accessories for the proton beam that allows us to do things that they weren’t originally intended to do or things that the manufacturers don’t provide,” Wehde said.
For example, Mayo Clinic engineers have 3D-printed custom polycarbonate bolus helmets that slow down protons. “What that does is it allows us to treat tumors that are much closer to the surface of the skin than we could if we didn’t create these bolus helmets.”
The largest helmet the Mayo Clinic team created weighed about 25 lbs. and took six days to print, according to Wehde. “It takes a while to put them together, and we have several sets of them that we’ve done for both of our proton beam centers.”