Proton therapy center to treat pediatric and adult cancer patients

The development of a proton therapy center in the Pacific Northwest has taken a significant step forward with the signing of a letter of intent between the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) and ProCure Treatment Centers Inc. (ProCure). SCCA and ProCure announced the agreement today and are moving the project forward to bring this advanced form of radiation therapy to adult and pediatric cancer patients.

“The SCCA was formed to accelerate the development and evaluation of new therapies for cancer, and then make those therapies more widely available in our region. Proton therapy has emerged as a compelling treatment for pediatric and many adult cancer patients, who would currently have to leave the Northwest for proton therapy or may not have access to it at all. We're also excited to be working with ProCure to further develop this technology and to identify new areas where protons can be an effective and appropriate treatment,” said Norm Hubbard, SCCA executive vice president.

"We chose ProCure to be our partner because its sole focus and expertise is designing, financing, constructing and operating proton therapy centers. This expertise brings down the cost of construction and operation,” Hubbard said.

The SCCA proton center will be built on the campus of Northwest Hospital & Medical Center in north Seattle. When completed, the proton center will primarily serve a five-state region, and like other clinical programs at the SCCA, it will attract patients nationally and internationally. The proton center will treat approximately 1,400 patients per year in a 60,000-square-foot facility.

ProCure collaborates with hospitals, health systems and physician groups to develop and operate proton therapy centers. Its first center, the ProCure Proton Therapy Center in Oklahoma, began treating patients in July 2009. It is the sixth center of its kind in the U.S. ProCure has another center under construction in suburban Chicago as well as three more centers under development, in New Jersey, Michigan and Florida.

“The Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, along with its founding partners – Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, University of Washington Medicine and Seattle Children’s – is a highly regarded National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in the Pacific Northwest and is dedicated to excellence in cancer research, education and patient treatment. We are very pleased to be developing a proton center with them,” said Hadley Ford, CEO of ProCure. “It is an ideal group to help us realize our mission of improving the lives of patients with cancer by increasing access to proton therapy.”

“It is extremely gratifying to see the development of the new proton therapy center move forward, and we are delighted to be working with SCCA and ProCure to bring it to the Northwest Hospital campus,” said Bill Schneider, CEO of Northwest Hospital. “The location of this state-of-the-art facility at Northwest Hospital will significantly enhance the cancer care resources available to our community and to the entire region.”

Proton therapy is an advanced form of radiation treatment for cancer that precisely deposits radiation directly in the tumor, sparing healthy tissue and reducing side effects. Children can benefit significantly from proton therapy because their bodies are more vulnerable to the side effects of radiation treatment. Today, only six proton centers are operating in the United States and treating patients; the closest facility to Seattle is in southern California.

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