Patients needing an innovative radiation cancer treatment no longer will have to leave Oklahoma for treatment when the state’s first proton therapy cancer treatment center opens in August 2009.

Groundbreaking was in April for the 55,000-square-foot ProCure Treatment Center at 5901 W. Memorial Road.

Proton therapy is regarded as the most advanced form of external radiation therapy available for treating cancer, said Dr. William C. Goad, an Oklahoma ProCure Center physician partner.

The therapy works by precisely releasing radiation to target cancer without disturbing tissue beyond the tumor. A steering magnet will direct the proton beam into four separate therapy rooms according to the volume of patients.

Protons will travel through a beam around the path of the building to where it manifests into the 3-dimensional form of the tumor before application.

Other traditional types of radiation treatment such as Gamma Knife and Cyber Knife also damage healthy cells, said John Donaghue of Edmond, president of Oklahoma ProCure Management LLC.

“What’s different about protons is it has a very low intensity as it goes into the body,” Donaghue said. “And then it focuses all of its energy on the tumor. ... Protons peak its intensity level at the tumor and then completely drops off.”

ProCure will be the first health-care facility to use the technology in Oklahoma. Another ProCure center is planned for Chicago and others will follow elsewhere in the United States.

“Interesting enough, it won’t be just unique in Oklahoma. It’s something that will be interesting and unique in the United States and the impact is far-reaching internationally,” Donaghue said.

In the United States, proton therapy only is available at university facilities including Loma Linda University Medical Center in Southern California, Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, the Midwest Proton Radiotherapy Institute in Bloomington, Ind., the University of Florida in Jacksonville, Fla., and the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

“Procure is the first community-based initiative across the country where they go in and partner with hospitals; they partner with leading radiation oncologists,” Donaghue said. At a cost of $100 million, ProCure will partner with Integris Health, Radiation Oncology Associates and Radiation Medicine Associates.

ProCure is expected to employ about 100 people with the majority of them having six-figure salaries, Donaghue said.

Less than 6,000 patients were treated by proton therapy last year in the United States. ProCure will have the capacity to treat up to 176 patients a day. Meanwhile, the American Cancer Society predicts there will be 18,500 new cases of cancer in Oklahoma next year.

On average, ProCure patients will have 25 to 30 treatments during a four- to six-week period. “You’re going to have people come into Oklahoma that normally don’t come here,” Donaghue said.



TO LEARN more about ProCure Treatment Centers Inc., visit www.procurecenters.com.

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