The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Arkansas Children’s, Baptist Health and Proton International have signed a letter of intent to bring proton therapy — an alternative to radiation therapy for treating cancer — to Arkansas.
The proton treatment center will be the first in Arkansas and one of only about 40 in the country. It will be located at the UAMS Radiation Oncology Center.
“UAMS is excited to be able to offer this advanced technology to patients in Arkansas so that they will no longer have to leave the state for this highly effective treatment that will provide precision and reduced side effects,” said UAMS Chancellor Dr. Cam Patterson.
Proton therapy precisely targets tumors, sparing the surrounding healthy tissues.
Proton therapy is particularly effective in treating solid cancer tumors, including tumors of the brain, spine, head and neck, lung, prostate, colon, and some breast tumors. It is widely used to treat children with cancer, as children are particularly sensitive to the effects of radiation therapy.
“The Proton Treatment Center brings cutting-edge therapy to our patients and will be the basis of many new and novel clinical trials that will benefit our patients and clearly move the cancer research field forward,” said Michael Birrer, M.D., Ph.D., director of the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. “It will also help us on our journey to achieve National Cancer Institute Designation.”
“Arkansas Children’s is pleased to play a role in bringing proton therapy to Arkansas. This effort is part of our continuous commitment to the children of Arkansas to provide state-of-the-art care. Pediatric cancer patients will benefit greatly through this collaborative venture,” said Marcy Doderer, president and CEO of Arkansas Children’s.
“Baptist Health’s mission is to ensure the best care for patients,” said Troy Wells, president and CEO of Baptist Health. “This is another example of how strategic collaboration with other leading health care providers can improve the health of Arkansans and we’re happy to be bringing this therapy to Arkansas.”
“The Proton International team is pleased to be working with our partners to bring this important technology to the citizens of Arkansas and the surrounding region. The vision of UAMS, Baptist Health and Arkansas Children’s to assure this technology will be available in the fight against cancer will make a real difference in patients’ lives” said Chris Chandler CEO of Proton International.
The center will also increase the number of proton treatment facilities enrolling patients in national data registries and in clinical research trials to document clinical outcomes and enhance the benefits from an appropriate use of the therapy, according to a press release from the groups.
The agreement is pending approval by the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees and the boards of Arkansas Children’s and Baptist Health.