Construction to begin on proton therapy center Jan. 30

UAB Medicineproton therapy rendering 1The three-story UAB Proton Therapy Center will be constructed on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 20th Street South. and Proton International will hold a groundbreaking ceremony to formally launch construction of Proton International at UAB, the first proton therapy facility in the state to provide this technically advanced form of cancer-killing radiation. Proton therapy, which delivers a more precise dose of radiation, is better than convention radiation at avoiding damage to healthy tissue surround the tumor.

The groundbreaking will take place 11 a.m. Jan. 30 on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 20th Street South. Speakers will include Will Ferniany, Ph.D., CEO of the UAB Health System, James A. Bonner, M.D., chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology, and Chris Chandler, CEO of Proton International.

Proton International at UAB will consist of a three-story building to house the proton-therapy system, manufactured by Varian Medical Systems, a longtime partner with UAB in the delivery of radiation therapy. There are 25 active proton therapy centers in the United States, most affiliated with major cancer centers. Proton therapy uses an aimed beam of protons directed at the tumor site. The beam is configured to deliver the majority of its energy precisely at the tumor location. Healthy tissue in front of the tumor receives a minimal amount of energy, and tissue behind the tumor receives very little. This reduces the damage to healthy tissue that is common in the use of conventional X-ray radiation and is the cause of most side-effects.

Brasfield & Gorrie are general contractors for the project.