The University of Alabama at Birmingham and Proton International have secured funding for the UAB Proton Therapy Center, a significant step toward beginning construction. The facility will be the first proton therapy center in the state of Alabama. With the financial closing complete, UAB and Proton International expect to break ground in January 2018 and open the facility in approximately two years.
The UAB Proton Therapy Center will be an important addition to existing cancer therapies at UAB and the Comprehensive Cancer Center. The center will be a two-story 29,000-square-foot facility equipped with the Varian Probeam proton technology.
Proton therapy is an advanced form of radiation treatment available at only 25 locations in the United States. It is conservatively estimated that some 250,000 cancer patients in the United States alone could benefit from the therapy, which uses highly precise proton beams instead of traditional X-rays to attack tumors.
Proton therapy is used to treat tumors of the brain and central nervous system, spine, head and neck, lung, prostate, liver, and gastrointestinal tract and colon, and some breast tumors. While it treats primarily localized tumors, it can, in some cases, be used for treating cancer that has spread, or metastasized, to surrounding tissue because of its focused dose capabilities.
Proton therapy is widely used to treat children, who are particularly sensitive to the effects of radiation therapy. Because of its precision in targeting tumors, proton therapy greatly reducesdamage to nearby healthy tissue, which is the cause of most short- and long-term side effects,including cancer recurrence later in life.
“The UAB Proton Therapy Center will bring one of the most advanced cancer-fighting therapies to thousands of cancer patients throughout Alabama and the Southeast,” said James A. Bonner, M.D., the Merle M. Salter Endowed Professor and chair of the UAB Department of Radiation Oncology. “It is exciting to know that we have achieved another milestone in the development of this center, and we are thrilled that we can begin construction just a few weeks from now in the beginning of the new year.”
“Proton International is pleased to be working with the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Department of Radiation Oncology, one of the premier oncology programs in the country,” said Chris Chandler, CEO of Proton International. “The department has a long and rich history of contributing to the science of radiation therapy and the adoption of clinically relevant technology.”
Proton International is currently participating in the development of several centers in the United States and abroad. PI’s turnkey development model significantly lowers project risk and provides access to long-term funding.