UAMS opens new $65 million radiation oncology center

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,429 views 

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute opened a new Radiation Oncology Center Tuesday (July 18) with expanded capabilities to provide advanced radiation treatments for children and adults with cancer, including the state’s first Proton Center.

The $65 million, 58,000-square-foot structure at 3900 W. Capitol Ave. in Little Rock was built to accommodate three new linear accelerators that customize radiation delivery based on the type and stage of a patient’s cancer.

“The opening of this facility marks an unprecedented commitment to the future of cancer treatment in Arkansas and the region,” said UAMS Chancellor Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA. “The innovative therapies and advanced technology available here place UAMS among the top centers worldwide at the forefront of cancer treatment.”

UAMS said its Radiation Oncology Center is the only cancer center in Arkansas to offer Ethos Adaptive Therapy, a unique form of X-ray radiation that adapts to daily changes in a tumor’s shape and position over the course of treatment.

Two other linear accelerators deliver Edge Radiosurgery, a specialized nonsurgical technique used to destroy tumors in the brain and spine with end-to-end accuracy of less than one millimeter, and radiotherapy with motion management, which controls radiation directed at tumors that move as patients breathe.

The center will open for adult and pediatric patients needing X-ray radiation July 24.

UAMS already provides radiation therapy for children and adults with a broad range of cancers and is the only provider of pediatric radiation therapy in Arkansas. About half of all cancer patients need some form of radiation during the course of their illness.

“This is the most sophisticated, cutting-edge radiation delivery technology available in the U.S.,” said Fen Xia, M.D., Ph.D., director of the UAMS Radiation Oncology Center, part of the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. “Each machine is specialized and designed to treat specific types of cancer in the body. The most effective cancer treatment is not a one size fits all. It should be customized to a patient’s cancer type and stage. That’s what this technology allows us to do more of.”

“This center will provide the most advanced cancer radiation medicine in the world that will give patients the best chance of survival and quality of life,” said Michael Birrer, M.D., Ph.D., UAMS vice chancellor and director of the Cancer Institute. “We now have everything a patient needs right here at home without them having to leave the state for these cutting-edge treatments.”

The expansion will also support the Radiation Oncology Center’s active clinical research and clinical trial programs. UAMS radiation oncologists currently have nine active clinical trials that are testing treatments for breast, prostate, head and neck and non-small cell lung cancers. Eleven additional studies, including three involving proton therapy, are in progress. The trials include national cooperative group studies that collect information on new treatments from multiple cancer centers, as well as trials originated by UAMS radiation oncologists.

UAMS previously offered radiation therapy at a building located at 4130 Shuffield Drive on the main UAMS campus in Little Rock.