Hospitals are undertaking a new nuclear arms race, possibly plumping up related nuclear and cancer exchange traded funds (ETFs).

Andrew Pollack for The New York Times reports that medical centers are rushing to turn nuclear particle accelerators into the latest cancer fighters. These tools were originally used only in the most state-of-the-art physics research. Using them to fight cancer will be costly and still only experimental.

The push to try these reflect the best and the worst of the health care system: while it’s an exciting advance, some say that an "arms race" mentality has taken hold. Evidence of improved health is yet to be known, and soaring medical costs continue to burden the nation’s economy. Once hospitals make the investment, they could be pressured to recommend the therapy when a less expensive alternative would work just as well.

The machine is said to accelerate protons to the speed of light and shoot them into tumors. The proton beams are more accurate than x-rays and prevent fewer side effects from stray radiation.

This advance could shoot returns into focused ETFs such as:

  • HealthShares Cancer (HHK)
    HealthShares Diagnostics (HHD)
    HealthShares Neuroscience (HHN)

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