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Cyclotron Arrival Marks Milestone in Construction of Advanced Cancer Treatment Center
|By Business Wire
|July 2, 2014 11:00 AM EDT
Two hundred twenty tons of new hope for cancer patients came to North
Texas early today with the arrival of the massive cyclotron at the Texas
Center for Proton Therapy. The center, a collaboration of Texas
Oncology, The US Oncology Network, and McKesson Specialty Health, is
expected to treat its first patients in early 2016.
The new cyclotron is the only second-generation proton therapy
technology in Texas and is the centerpiece of the Irving-Las Colinas
facility. The cyclotron, a magnet-packed particle accelerator, creates
protons that travel up to two-thirds the speed of light through a
143-foot beamline – nearly half the length of a football field – to the
patient’s tumor with pinpoint accuracy.
The therapy is especially beneficial for treating cancers requiring
extreme precision such as tumors in the brain, eye, spine, head and
neck, as well as pediatric patients. The beam’s exceptional accuracy
minimizes side effects and damage to surrounding healthy tissue and
enables patients to maintain their quality of life during and after
“Texas Oncology is excited to bring this remarkable technology to the
area to help create more cancer survivors. The size and weight of the
cyclotron belie the precision that this form of radiation treatment
delivers in destroying cancer cells,” said Dr. Steven Paulson, chairman
and president of Texas Oncology. “The proton therapy center reaffirms
our commitment to create more hope for cancer patients by adding
leading-edge technology to complement the existing array of advanced
cancer treatment choices for the 119,000 Texans that will be diagnosed
with cancer this year.”
An odyssey ends
The arrival of the cyclotron marks the end of a complex, month-long
odyssey for the equipment, which began in Belgium on May 21.
Manufactured by Ion Beam Applications S.A. (IBA) in Belgium, the 220-ton
cyclotron was shipped in two sections, bolted to the hull of the ship to
balance the unusually heavy cargo and to prevent capsizing. After more
than 5,000 miles at sea, the cyclotron traveled from the Port of Houston
to Irving by land, on two 19-axle trucks via an indirect route due to
its massive size and weight. A specialized crane then carefully hoisted
it into place in the facility.
“The delivery of the cyclotron is an impressive logistical feat that
signifies an important construction milestone. We’re pleased to have
completed one more step in bringing this advanced treatment to North
Texas,” said Kirk Kaminsky, president of The US Oncology Network and
Provider Services for McKesson Specialty Health.
Although physical construction of the center, with a fixed beam and two
isocentric gantry treatment rooms, is more than 80 percent complete,
highly technical work will fill the next several months as the advanced
technology behind the lifesaving treatment is carefully set, calibrated,
“Physicists and engineers from IBA and Texas Oncology physicists will be
on site to manage the meticulous calibration and testing of the proton
beam equipment,” said Gary Barlow, director of the Texas Center for
Proton Therapy. “What makes this therapy so effective is its
extraordinary precision in targeting the proton beams on the tumor. To
do that, we have to calibrate the machine to submillimeter accuracy.”
Texas Oncology’s patient-centered approach to care will be evident in
the new center, which has been designed to create a positive and
supportive patient experience. The center will offer a full range of
concierge services, focused therapeutic activities for patients,
families, and caregivers, and a children’s activities room/learning
center. Patients undergoing proton therapy treatment will also have
access to on-site laboratory services and the newest PET/CT and MRI
The center’s community room will feature the “HOPE Wall,” a seven-foot
wall filled with hand-written messages of encouragement and support from
participants in the center’s May 2013 groundbreaking ceremonies – and
highlighting the essential role of community support in fighting cancer.
About the Collaboration
Texas Oncology and The US Oncology Network, supported by McKesson
Specialty Health, and Baylor Health Enterprises, an affiliate of Baylor
Health Care System, are collaborating to develop a proton therapy
facility in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The advanced treatment
facility will provide services through Texas Oncology, an independent
oncology practice based in Dallas with locations throughout Texas and
southeastern Oklahoma. Texas Oncology is affiliated with The US Oncology
Network, which includes privately held community-based oncology
practices across the country.
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