Healthcare Industry News:  proton therapy 

Devices Oncology

 News Release - July 8, 2009

New ProCure Proton Therapy Center Celebrates Grand Opening

An Important Option in Cancer Treatment Comes to Oklahoma City

OKLAHOMA CITY--(HSMN NewsFeed)--The first group of what will eventually be 1,500 patients a year are being accepted for proton therapy treatment for their cancer at the new ProCure proton therapy Center in Oklahoma City, which celebrated its official grand opening today. Patients with head and neck, brain, central nervous system, prostate and some pediatric cancers, among others, will be treated at the new Center, the first in a network of ProCure centers to open across the country.

Patients who have been treated with proton therapy joined in a ribbon cutting today along with physicians, cancer advocacy groups and VIPs from around the state. The ProCure proton therapy Center is only the sixth such center in operation in the United States that treats a variety of cancer tumors, and the only center to open since 2006.

“This is a great day – a day of hope and celebration – for patients with cancer,” said John Cameron, Ph.D., a pioneer in particle physics and the founder of ProCure Treatment Centers, Inc. “We are dedicated to bringing this powerful cancer fighting tool to more patients and the Oklahoma City center is the first realization of our mission.”

“We have been looking forward to this day and I could not be happier or more excited for our patients,” said W.C. Goad, M.D., medical director of the Center and a founder of Radiation Medicine Associates, the eight-physician radiation oncology practice that joined with ProCure to bring the Center to Oklahoma. “Every aspect of the Center was designed and developed with a focus on patients and on providing exceptional patient care. We will care for and about our patients and provide them with a healing environment.”

proton therapy is an advanced form of radiation treatment for many types of cancer. Protons kill cancer cells by preventing them from dividing and growing. Patients experience fewer short- and long-term side effects with proton therapy than with traditional forms of radiation, as proton therapy causes significantly less damage to healthy tissue and vital organs.

The Procure proton therapy Center is affiliated with INTEGRIS Health, the largest Oklahoma-owned, not-for-profit health system in the state. INTEGRIS is opening the state-of-the-art Cancer Institute of Oklahoma adjacent to the proton therapy Center and will provide treatment and services to patients who may need additional care while undergoing proton therapy.

“Cancer patients benefit greatly when they have treatment options and protons give us another potent weapon,” said Stan Hupfeld, president/CEO of INTEGRIS Health. “We are committed to doing everything in our power to help patients fight cancer and are very pleased to be part of bringing this new option to Oklahoma and patients throughout the United States.“

The need for protons is great compared to available treatment slots. An estimated 250,000 patients could benefit from proton therapy annually while only 6,000 treatment slots are available through the five centers that have been operating to date.

“This is a very important treatment and it’s great to have it here in Oklahoma,” said Stewart Taylor, an Oklahoma City resident who had proton therapy five years ago at a center in California. “I talk to patients who had other treatments and are dealing with side effects every day of their lives and I’m very grateful I had the chance to have proton therapy. I’m one of the lucky ones; I can go for days without even thinking about having had cancer.”

“Our pledge as a company is to build proton centers until every patient with cancer who could benefit has access to this advanced treatment,” said Hadley Ford, CEO of ProCure. “Oklahoma City is the first in a network of centers that we have under construction and in development. Our dream is becoming a reality.” ProCure has a second center under construction in the suburbs of Chicago, scheduled to open in early 2011; and centers in development in New Jersey, south Florida and Detroit, Mich.

At the opening, Ford acknowledged energy executive and philanthropist Aubrey K. McClendon, who is co-founder, chairman and CEO of Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy Corporation, and who personally provided the initial $70 million funding for ProCure. Ford noted that McClendon had “extraordinary vision to make sure Oklahomans with cancer could receive locally the finest cancer care and treatment anywhere.”

“This is a world-class, innovative cancer care facility and its construction and operations have exceeded all of my expectations,” said McClendon. “I know that many Oklahomans recently affected by cancer could have benefited from proton treatment, but did not have easy access to this technology. For too long cancer patients in this area of the country have had to travel too far to receive the benefits of proton therapy.

“ProCure’s vision to make proton therapy more accessible to cancer patients caught my attention three years ago. The company has done an exceptional job developing and constructing this facility since that time. I am pleased to have played a part in bringing proton cancer therapy to Oklahoma. I am especially proud of my association with Shannon Self, Tom Blalock, John Frick and Dr. W.C. Goad and his physician partners, Stan Hupfeld and the entire INTEGRIS organization along with ProCure and its management and medical teams, who all deserve the lion share of the credit in bringing this amazing cancer treatment facility to Oklahoma City. Similar to having the NBA Thunder in town, having one of only six proton cancer treatment centers in Oklahoma City will put us on the cancer care map in a way we have never been before. This is another great day in Oklahoma City’s history,” McClendon said.

“Our goal is to improve technology, find efficiencies and bring this therapy to patients faster than we can today,” said Ford. “We broke a world record in Oklahoma by completing the Center in 27 months, working closely with our proton technology provider, Ion Beam Application of Belgium, to make that happen. For the sake of patients with cancer, we need to bring that timeline down and put more centers into operation.”

The 60,000-square-foot Center will have four treatment rooms with a treatment capacity of 1,500 patients a year. Patients will be chosen according to medical appropriateness and evaluated by a Physician Review Board. Patients under treatment will have personal care teams of medical professionals who will remain with them throughout their treatment. The team will involve patients’ personal physicians to allow for a continuum of care.

For more information about the Center, visit www.procure.com/ok. For more information about proton therapy or ProCure, visit www.procure.com.

About ProCure Treatment Centers

Headquartered in Bloomington, Ind., ProCure Treatment Centers, Inc. was founded in 2005 by Dr. John Cameron, a nuclear physicist and particle therapy physics pioneer who was pivotal in the development of the Midwest Proton Radiotherapy Institute, the third proton center to open in the U.S. ProCure provides management support and a model for the complete design, construction, operation and maintenance of world-class proton therapy centers. Through affiliations with leading radiation oncologists and hospitals, ProCure’s business model reduces the time, effort and cost involved in creating a facility, which allows physicians more time to focus on patient care. ProCure plans to increase the number of centers across the country to make proton therapy affordable and accessible to patients who would benefit from the treatment.

About Radiation Medicine Associates (RMA)

Radiation Medicine Associates, a leading radiation oncology practice in Oklahoma City, is bringing proton therapy, the most advanced external radiation therapy treatment, to Oklahoma City. They are well known and respected clinical physicians with a long history of clinical excellence. The doctors practice at the leading institutions in the area and have pioneered the newest and most appropriate cancer treatment technologies in the community. The physicians are longstanding members of the Oklahoma community who have dedicated their professional lives to the improvement of cancer treatment.

About INTEGRIS Health

INTEGRIS Health is the state's largest Oklahoma-owned not-for-profit healthcare corporation, with hospitals, rehabilitation centers, physician clinics, mental health facilities, fitness centers, independent living centers and home health agencies throughout much of the state. Through its affiliates, INTEGRIS Health operates 13 hospitals, led in the Oklahoma City area by INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center and INTEGRIS Southwest Medical Center. The organization has affiliated mental health providers in 50 Oklahoma towns and cities, and offers hospice services through Hospice of Oklahoma County.


Source: ProCure Treatment Centers

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