Irving Proton Therapy Facility Dedication Next Week

Texas Center for Proton Therapy plans a dedication ceremony Wednesday for its $105 million proton therapy facility in Irving.

The construction of the facility will begin after that ceremony and is expected to be complete by June 2014. Company officials plan to begin treating patients by early 2016. The center,  located at 1501 W. Royal Lane, is expected to employ about 50 people. The project is spearheaded by Dallas-based Texas Oncology, and supported by McKesson Specialty Health; and Baylor Health Enterprises, an affiliate of Baylor Health Care System,

Gary Barlow was hired as the facility’s director in January. Barlow previously was the technical director of the University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute, which he said treated the world’s most pediatric cancer patients with proton therapy. He has nearly three decades of experience as a radiation oncology technical director.

The planned facility has been expanded to 63,000 square feet, compared with the original 50,000-square-foot plan, to accommodate more meeting space for wellness, nutrition and exercise classes.

Scott Cheek, MD, Texas Oncology radiation oncologist at Baylor’s Sammons Cancer Center, said the there are about 10,000 patients who are candidates for radiation treatments within a 150-mile radius of DFW annually. The facility will provide services through Texas Oncology, which includes more than 135 practices and 345 physicians. Texas Oncology is a member of The U.S. Oncology Network, which includes physician-owned oncology practices nationally, which may also refer patients to the facility.

Patients also will have the opportunity to participate in clinical trials through the facility’s relationship with U.S. Oncology Research.

More than 1.6 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer. Cheek estimated the 2013 cancer incidence in Texas at about 112,000 cases this year.

Proton therapy is an advanced form of radiation treatment, designed to treat specific pediatric and adult cancers, often with fewer side effects. It provides highly targeted radiation treatment designed to treat many pediatric and adult cancers, including tumors in the brain, head and neck, lung and prostate.

The facility originally was announced in September, two months after UT Southwestern announced plans it planned to operate a 100,000-square foot proton therapy center on a 4.5-acre site near its Medical District campus in Dallas.

That $225 million center is being built and funded by San Diego-based Advanced Particle Therapy (ATP). The three-story building, which will have five treatment rooms, will take about three years to build and equip.

DFW is the largest U.S. metropolitan area without a proton facility

Steve Jacob is editor of D Healthcare Daily and author of the book Health Care in 2020: Where Uncertain Reform, Bad Habits, Too Few Doctors and Skyrocketing Costs Are Taking Us. He can be reached at [email protected]

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