Tuesday, December 13, 2011
PHOENIX, Ariz. — Mayo Clinic broke ground today for a cutting edge cancer therapy facility at its Phoenix campus. Construction begins this month on a $182 million facility to house Mayo Clinic's Proton Beam Therapy program — marking the beginning of a new era in cancer treatment.
Phoenix Mayor-elect Greg Stanton was among the speakers featured at the event.
"The commitment by Mayo Clinic to build this amazing new cancer treatment facility is exactly why our region must focus and redouble our commitment to healthcare and bio-sciences," said Phoenix Mayor-elect Greg Stanton. "This new therapy will not only save lives, it will create jobs, positive economic impact and will continue the growth of the Phoenix area as a destination for health care delivery."
The Mayo Clinic Proton Beam Therapy Program will be an important component of Mayo's national three-site cancer center in Minnesota, Arizona and Florida. The new program will employ intensity modulated proton therapy — based on pencil beam scanning — which is a more precise form of proton therapy treatment that allows greater control over radiation doses, shorter treatment times and fewer side effects.
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"Providing new technology such as proton therapy is critical to Mayo Clinic's mission of providing the best care to people with cancer. This is a proud moment in the history of Mayo Clinic — our new Proton Beam program will benefits thousands of patients from all walks of life," said John Noseworthy, M.D., president and CEO of Mayo Clinic. "Cancer is a devastating disease that touches countless lives. Proton Beam therapy is a perfect example of the innovative thinking that offers real solutions and, most importantly, hope for patients and families."
As part of the integrated program, Mayo Clinic will build facilities on Mayo's campuses in Minnesota and Arizona. The Arizona proton beam therapy program will be located east of the Mayo Clinic Specialty Building on the Phoenix campus (56th Street and the 101).
Of the existing proton therapy centers in the United States, few use pencil beam scanning exclusively. Pencil beam scanning uses a narrower beam than a traditional proton beam. All eight treatment rooms at Mayo Clinic's two new facilities will feature this advanced technology.
"This is an extremely important enhancement for our patients and our community," says Wyatt Decker, M.D., vice president and CEO of Mayo Clinic in Arizona. "Mayo Clinic will integrate its proton therapy into its teamwork approach to medicine so cancer patients will benefit from the best outcomes and care."
The experience at other organizations has shown that pencil beam scanning is an advancement over traditional radiotherapy to treat many cancers because its beam is more tightly targeted to the tumor, sparing surrounding tissue, and can therefore be used at higher therapeutic doses with fewer side effects. In contrast, a traditional X-ray beam passes through tumors, irradiating everything in its path. Pencil beam scanning also uses a beam that is much smaller than traditional proton therapy, allowing physicians to more accurately and safely destroy only tumor tissue.
The precision of pencil beam proton therapy makes it especially effective for treating children and adults with tumors adjacent to critical sensitive organs such as the brain, eye, spinal cord, lung, heart, liver, bowel and kidneys.
All patients receiving proton therapy treatments will be part of a patient registry that will allow Mayo Clinic to track these patients prospectively into the future, determine which patients gain the most benefit and incorporate these findings into new care models for cancer patients.
"Patients should experience fewer side effects, improved tumor control and improved survival rates," says Steven Schild, M.D., chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. "As more people in the United States survive cancer, the long term management of cancer patients becomes more important. Proton therapy offers the possibility to treat recurrences in patients who have undergone previous radiation therapy procedures to potentially extend their survival."
The design and construction of both facilities is expected to begin almost simultaneously. The first treatment rooms in Arizona are expected to open by early 2016, and the remaining rooms will be open by 2017. During the building phase of each project, 500 construction jobs will be created. The Arizona center is expected to employ more than 130 staff members, which will include more than 13 physicians and 9 Ph.D. physicists.
The proton beam therapy program will be fully integrated into Mayo Clinic's three-site cancer center in Minnesota, Arizona and Florida. More than 20,000 patients receive cancer care at Mayo Clinic each year.
The total capital expenditures for a four-room treatment facility in Rochester will be approximately $188 million and a similar four-room treatment center in Arizona will be $182 million. Funding for the projects is allocated from Mayo's capital budget and benefactor support. Mayo Clinic broke ground for the Rochester facility in September.
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