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University Hospitals to open $30 Million Proton Therapy Center

News Release

May 31, 2016

Contact:Alicia Reale

Center to be one of an elite group in the nation and first in Ohio to offer revolutionary technology

CLEVELAND, May 27, 2106 - University Hospitals is hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 31 for a new $30 million proton therapy center, becoming one of an elite group of cancer centers in the country to offer this revolutionary technology. There are currently only 23 operational proton therapy centers in the nation and the UH site will be the first in Ohio.

The new Proton Therapy Center is one of the world’s first “compact” proton therapy centers, featuring a unique single-room system that is significantly smaller and more economical than first-generation proton therapy technology, while delivering the same powerful cancer-fighting radiation therapy.

Proton therapy is an advanced type of radiation treatment that uses a proton beam to precisely target a tumor. Traditional radiation therapy uses photon beams or X-rays, which are highly effective for a broad variety of cancers. However, in some cases, proton beams offer enhanced abilities to deliver radiation doses to destroy cancer cells while selectively sparing surrounding healthy tissue. Most notably, the use of protons is beneficial for the treatment of some cancers in children and young adults, who are more prone to short and long-term complications from radiation.

“There are several benefits to the delivery of radiation treatment with protons rather than photons for certain types of cancer, and we believe that this represents the next important advancement in radiation therapy. We are very excited to bring this leading-edge technology to Ohio,” says Nathan Levitan, MD, President, UH Seidman Cancer Center. “We have made this $30 million investment in keeping with our commitment to bring the most advanced cancer-fighting treatments and technology to our community and to the country as a national leader in cancer care.”

Scheduled to open in July, the Proton Therapy Center will be housed in an 11,000-square-foot facility on the UH main campus, directly between UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and UH Seidman Cancer Center. The technology will be used for pediatric cancer patients as well as patients with certain brain and spine malignancies. The utility of this new therapy is being studied in a variety of other cancer types as well.

UH signed an agreement in 2011 with Mevion Medical Systems to purchase the MEVION S250 Proton Therapy System, the next generation of proton therapy technology. While the first generation of proton beam systems require massive equipment, large facilities and cost upwards of $200 to 300 million, scientific breakthroughs by Mevion led to the development of this first-of-its-kind more compact and less costly model. The MEVION S250 delivers the same precise treatments but with a greatly reduced physical footprint, streamlined clinical workflow and significantly lower implementation and operational costs.

“Proton beams have unique physical properties that allow reduced doses of radiation to uninvolved normal tissue,” says David Mansur, MD, Director of the Proton Therapy Center. “Unlike x-ray beams that penetrate through the patient, the proton beam delivers radiation to the tumor and then stops, sparing healthy surrounding tissue. They are the ultimate means of reaching certain tumors, especially those in pediatric cancer patients whose bodies are still growing.”

The new Proton Therapy Center will be located close to UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital to enable easy access for pediatric patients and families. “Children are more susceptible to the long-term adverse effects of radiation therapy such as cognitive problems and second cancers. The use of proton beam therapy should help reduce these risks,” said John Letterio, MD, Director of the Angie Fowler Adolescent & Young Adult Cancer Institute at UH Rainbow. “Clinical research trials studying the best means of using protons are in development, and we will be among the leaders in research studies of proton beam radiotherapy.”

The technology will complement UH Seidman Cancer Center’s existing, state-of-the-art photon-beam based radiation therapy services, which include Synergy-S Hexapod, Cyberknife and Perfexion Gamma Knife. UH is one of the only cancer centers in the country to offer such a broad range of advanced photon-based radiation technology under one roof.

“With the addition of a proton beam facility, we will be able to offer a full array of the latest in cutting-edge radiotherapy,” says Mitch Machtay, MD, Chairman of Radiation Oncology at UH Case Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. “This technology will be a great complement to our existing state-of-the-art radiation oncology equipment and personnel at Seidman, and more importantly, the lives of many people with cancer and their families will be ultimately enhanced by this investment.”

About University Hospitals
Founded in May 1866, University Hospitals serves the needs of patients through an integrated network of 18 hospitals, more than 40 outpatient health centers and primary care physician offices in 15 counties throughout Northeast Ohio. At the core of our $4 billion health system is University Hospitals Case Medical Center, ranked among America’s best hospitals by U.S. News & World Report. The primary affiliate of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, UH Case Medical Center is home to some of the most prestigious clinical and research programs in the nation, including cancer, pediatrics, women's health, orthopaedics, radiology, neuroscience, cardiology and cardiovascular surgery, digestive health, transplantation and genetics. Its main campus includes UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, ranked among the top children’s hospitals in the nation; UH MacDonald Women's Hospital, Ohio's only hospital for women; and UH Seidman Cancer Center, part of the NCI-designated Case Comprehensive Cancer Center at Case Western Reserve University. UH is the second largest employer in Northeast Ohio with 26,000 employees. For more information, go to