May 12, 2008
Oklahoma ProCure Treatment Center Receives Cancer-Fighting Cyclotron
The first piece of the 220-ton cyclotron has arrived in Oklahoma City from Belgium to be installed at the Oklahoma ProCure Treatment Center, which will begin treating cancer patients in summer 2009.
Officials involved with the center celebrated the equipment's arrival on Monday.
William C. Goad, M.D., a radiation oncologist with Radiation Medicine Associates, said the cyclotron's arrival brings him one step closer to treating patients with proton therapy. Proton therapy is an alternative to radiation therapy without many of the short and long-term side effects that are often experienced by patients. Proton therapy's ability to precisely target tumors is ideal for treating tumors near vital organs and is particularly beneficial for pediatric cancer patients who are more susceptible to the side effects of radiation treatment.
"Next summer can't come soon enough," he said. "Protons offer Oklahomans another weapon against cancer."
The arrival of the cyclotron is a key milestone in the development of a proton therapy center as it is prepared to treat patients.
The cyclotron, weighing as much as a Boeing 747 jet, was manufactured in Belgium by IBA, a world-leader in cancer technology. The cyclotron traveled four weeks and about 5,700 miles by sea, arriving first in Houston. A trailer made for extraordinarily large cargo traveled at a top speed of 45 mph during a nearly 500-mile journey to the Oklahoma City center, located at the northwest corner of Memorial and MacArthur. Half of the cyclotron arrived on Saturday. The trailer will return to Houston to bring the second half of the cyclotron to Oklahoma City.
"The cyclotron is impressive not only in its size but also for its technologically advanced cancer-fighting power," said Ed Bertels, executive director of the Oklahoma ProCure Treatment Center. "We are excited to bring this cutting-edge technology here to fight cancer at the nation's first community-based proton center."
The cyclotron is responsible for splitting the atom and accelerating protons to nearly the speed of light to create a beam of energy that can deliver a more-effective dose to the patient's tumor.
The 55,000-square-foot, four-treatment-room center broke ground last April. The center is being developed in partnership with Radiation Medicine Associates, an Oklahoma City-based private practice physician group. About 1,500 patients a year will be treated at the Oklahoma ProCure Treatment Center. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Oklahoma with nearly 18,000 new cases diagnosed each year, according to the state Health Department. One out of three Oklahomans are affected by cancer during their lifetime.
Ancillary cancer-care services will be provided by the INTEGRIS Cancer Institute of Oklahoma, a comprehensive cancer center connected to the Oklahoma ProCure Treatment Center.
"We are excited for our ProCure partners in achieving this significant step toward bringing proton therapy and the latest in cancer treatment to Oklahoma," said Phil Lance, vice president of oncology development for INTEGRIS Health. "Groundbreaking for the next phase of construction which will house the INTEGRIS Cancer Institute of Oklahoma is anticipated to take place in the next 60 days."
About 50,000 patients worldwide have benefited from proton therapy. There are currently three proton therapy centers under construction and only five centers operating in the United States, which provides about 6,000 treatment slots per year. The procedure is non-invasive, painless, and destroys tumors while greatly reducing healthy tissue damage.
ProCure is joining with hospitals and radiation oncology practices to open proton centers across the country. In addition to the Oklahoma ProCure Treatment Center, ProCure has proton therapy centers planned for South Florida, Illinois and Michigan.
For more information on ProCure Treatment Centers visit www.ProCureCenters.com.
Editor's Note: ProCure press materials are available at www.procurenews.com.
About ProCure Treatment Centers
Headquartered in Bloomington, Ind., ProCure Treatment Centers, Inc. was founded in 2005 by Dr. John Cameron, a particle therapy physics pioneer who was pivotal in the development of the Midwest Proton Radiotherapy Institute. ProCure provides management support and a model for the complete design, construction, operation and maintenance of world-class proton therapy centers. Through partnerships with leading radiation oncologists and hospitals, ProCure's business model reduces the time, effort and cost involved in creating a facility, which allows physicians more time to focus on patient care. ProCure plans to increase the number of centers across the country to make proton therapy affordable and accessible to patients who would benefit from the treatment.
About Radiation Medicine Associates (RMA)
Radiation Medicine Associates, a leading radiation oncology practice in Oklahoma City, is bringing proton therapy, the most advanced external radiation therapy treatment, to Oklahoma City. They are well known and respected clinical physicians with a long history of clinical excellence. The doctors practice at the leading institutions in the area and have always pioneered the newest and most appropriate cancer treatment technologies in the community. The physicians are longstanding members of the Oklahoma community who have dedicated their professional lives to the improvement of cancer treatment. RMA consists of William C. Goad, MD; John R. Taylor, MD; Robert Gaston, DO; Elaine Nordhues, MD; Gary L. Larson, MD and Kiran Prabhu, MD.
About INTEGRIS Cancer Institute of Oklahoma
The INTEGRIS Cancer Institute of Oklahoma includes one of the foremost collections of medical and radiation oncologists, surgeons, radiologists and pathologists in the Southwest. The cancer institute proton campus will offer world-class cancer treatment and house a full complement of services to diagnose, treat and support cancer patients, their families and care providers.
About INTEGRIS Health
INTEGRIS Health, a not-for-profit organization, is the state's largest Oklahoma-owned health care corporation and one of the state's largest private employers, with hospitals, rehabilitation centers, physician clinics, mental health facilities, fitness centers, independent living centers and home health agencies throughout much of the state. Corporate headquarters are located on the campus of INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City.