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 and ProCure Treatment Centers, Inc. The SCCA and ProCure are working 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," said Norm Hubbard, SCCA executive vice president. "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.”
Proton therapy defined
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. Hubbard said it has has emerged as a compelling treatment for many patients, who would currently have to leave the Northwest or may not have access to it at all. Children can benefit significantly from proton therapy because their bodies are more vulnerable to the side effects of radiation treatment.
"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.
“We are very pleased to be developing a proton center with them [the SCCA and its founding partners],” said Hadley Ford, ProCure's chief executive officer. “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.”
Proton center facts and figures:
“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.”
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; ProCure now has one proton centers under construction and three in development (including the SCCA facility).
Currently, only six proton centers are operating in the United States and treating patients; the closest facility to Seattle is in southern California.