Cancer survivors joined representatives from ProCure Treatment Centers, Inc. (ProCure), Princeton Radiation Oncology (PRO), and CentraState Healthcare System to break ground on the ProCure Proton Therapy Center in Somerset - the first proton therapy center to be built in the state, located 40 miles from downtown Manhattan. When completed, the Center will be one of only a handful of centers in the nation to offer proton therapy, an advanced form of radiation treatment for cancer that does less damage to healthy tissue and has fewer short- and long-term side effects.
“Proton therapy not only saved me from paralysis, but it improved my prognosis from an 86 percent chance of recurrence to 5 percent”
More than 150 people attended the groundbreaking ceremony including former proton therapy patients, physicians and community residents. The ceremony was held at the site of the future Center, 101 - 103 Cedar Grove Lane, in Somerset (Franklin Township).
Cancer survivor, Sherry Sperring, shared her experience with proton therapy and welcomed the facility to the area. "Proton therapy not only saved me from paralysis, but it improved my prognosis from an 86 percent chance of recurrence to 5 percent," said Sperring, Boyertown, Penn. In 2009, she was referred by Dr. Todd Flannery, a PRO radiation oncologist, for proton therapy to treat her chondrosarcoma (a spinal tumor) at the Francis H. Burr Proton Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. "ProCure's center in New Jersey will give much needed access to proton therapy for people with specific needs like me."
According to statistics from the American Cancer Society, about 48,000 people in New Jersey and 101,000 in New York were diagnosed with cancer in 2009. Using conservative estimates, approximately 27,000 of those patients could be candidates for proton therapy.
Research has shown that proton therapy causes fewer short- and long-term treatment side effects than traditional X-ray radiation therapy, diminishes the chances of secondary tumors and improves patients' quality of life. The precision of proton therapy greatly reduces the type of damage often caused by radiation treatment because the majority of its energy is deposited directly in the tumor rather than in surrounding healthy tissue or nearby organs. Proton therapy is especially effective for treating a broad range of tumors including head and neck, brain, central nervous system, prostate, lung, sarcomas, gastrointestinal and many pediatric cancers.
"We are thrilled to have the Center under construction, bringing us steps closer to offering this important treatment option to our patients," said Brian Chon, M.D., a radiation oncologist and partner with Princeton Radiation Oncology, the radiation oncology practice that will provide clinical care at the Center. "Physicians in our practice have experience with proton therapy and have seen firsthand the benefits it can provide to our patients. We are anxious to begin treating patients in 2012."
"The radiation oncologists of Princeton Radiation Oncology are exceptional in their dedication to their patients and their vision for this proton center. We are very pleased to be working with the PRO physicians and with CentraState, a health system that shares our dream and that will have an extensive array of services available to patients who may have medical needs beyond proton therapy," said Hadley Ford, CEO of ProCure.
"We are honored to be affiliated with this Center," said John T. Gribbin, FACHE, president and CEO of CentraState Health System of Freehold, N.J. "The time is past due to have a proton therapy facility in this state. The proton center will elevate care here to a new level and provide us with a powerful option for treating cancer."
The $160 million, 60,000-square-foot facility will create 400 temporary jobs while construction is under way and 100 permanent professional jobs when it opens in 2012. New Jersey-based contractors are being used to build the center, which is privately financed, and the equipment to be used in the Center has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The facility will have four treatment rooms with the capacity to treat approximately 1,500 patients annually.
ProCure Treatment Centers, Inc.