Sunday 18 August 2019

Ex-Kentz CEO founds cancer therapy firm


John Reynolds

Kevin Paul, a former CEO and founder of Kentz Technologies, which was part of the Kentz engineering giant, has founded Muir PT Ireland, a firm that claims to have invented an affordable proton beam therapy service to treat some rare cancers, it has emerged.

Prof Pat O'Mahony, who is on the board of the Health Information and Quality Authority, and is chief executive of Clinical Research Development Ireland, has also been linked with the firm.

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Paul and O'Mahony declined to comment on the venture. Material seen by the Sunday Independent claimed that the firm had re-engineered - using mechatronics and a modular configuration - how the proton therapy is delivered.

It said it could reduce energy use and capital costs that run into hundreds of millions of euro, enabling it to operate far more cheaply than existing operators, offering a pay-per-use, managed service model.

Dr Robert O'Connor, head of research at the Irish Cancer Society, said: "Proton beam therapy [involves] doses of radiation delivered directly to a tumour accurately. In some cases, this may mean less likelihood of damage to surrounding tissues. For most cancers, the therapy offers few proven benefits. Facilities are extremely expensive to build and run, and obsolescence is a concern [as the technology advances].

"There are no proton therapy facilities in Ireland. Department of Health figures indicate that, on average, 12 HSE patients per year are treated abroad in European centres using this technology under the 'treatment abroad scheme'."

As a result of a recently agreed partnership, any such patients will now be treated at the NHS-run Christie hospital in Manchester, which offers the therapy, he added.

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