Hope for Cancer Patients: Proton Therapy Center Breaks Ground

Publication: Virtual Builder’s Exchange Network, Texas

May 17, 2013

At a festive groundbreaking ceremony today, cancer patients and survivors gathered with members of the healthcare community and city leaders to kick off construction of the $105 million Texas Center for Proton Therapy, the first facility of its kind in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

Texas Oncology and The US Oncology Network, supported by McKesson Specialty Health, and Baylor Health Enterprises, an affiliate of Baylor Health Care System, are collaborating to develop the facility. Patient services will be provided by Texas Oncology.

“A shared, community endeavor”

Highlighting the essential role of community support in fighting cancer, witnesses dedicated the site to current and future cancer survivors. After breaking ground, several of those in attendance unveiled and signed a seven-foot “HOPE Wall” inscribed with words of encouragement for cancer patients. Throughout construction, the wall will be available for others to add expressions of hope and inspiration; upon completion, the artwork will be installed in the center’s community room.

Bruce Feiler, New York Times columnist, cancer survivor and best-selling author of The Council of Dads, was among those participating in the dedication. “The ‘council of dads’ idea was my way of asking my friends to be a personal circle of support for my young children following my cancer diagnosis,” said Feiler. “Treating and surviving cancer ultimately is a shared, community endeavor, for families as well as the broader healthcare community – as represented on a large, impactful scale in the proton therapy center project here in North Texas.”  

Targeted therapy—fewer side effects, greater quality of life

Proton therapy is an advanced form of radiation treatment that delivers precisely targeted radiation to tumors. By minimizing side effects and damage to surrounding healthy tissue, proton therapy helps to maintain quality of life for patients during and after treatment.

More than 100,000 Texans are diagnosed with cancer each year. The Texas Center for Proton Therapy—which will be one of 23 proton therapy centers in the U.S. at opening—will have the capacity to treat more than 100 patients per day, complementing and expanding the array of treatment options currently available in the region.

Complex construction to house cutting-edge technology

More than 20 miles of electrical conduit and 14,500 cubic yards of concrete will be required to house the complex proton radiation equipment, including a 220-ton cyclotron, a massive magnet-packed particle accelerator. The center will have a fixed-beam treatment room, as well as two isocentric gantry treatment rooms, each containing a 30-foot tall, 110-ton machine that rotates to enable pinpoint accuracy in treating tumors. State-of-the-art PET/CT and MRI scanning and imaging technology will be available, along with on-site laboratory services.

Designed by RTKL Associates, the 63,000-square-foot facility will be located in Irving-Las Colinas off Royal Lane at the George Bush Turnpike. Linbeck Group is general contractor on the project, which is scheduled for completion in early 2016.