Proton International, in conjunction with the University of Alabama at Birmingham, has broken ground on the first proton therapy facility in the state. The facility, Proton International at UAB, is expected to be ready to treat cancer patients in 2020.
Proton therapy uses highly precise proton beams instead of traditional X-rays to attack tumors. It is available at 25 locations in the United States, most associated with academic medical centers. The therapy delivers a more precise dose of radiation to a tumor and can avoid damage to healthy surrounding tissue better than conventional X-ray radiation.
Proton International at UAB will consist of a three-story building to house the proton therapy system, manufactured by Varian, a longtime partner with UAB in the delivery of radiation therapy. UAB will lease the property to Proton International, which will build and manage the facility.
Brasfield & Gorrie is general contractor for the project, and Stantec is the architectural firm. Milestones in the construction of the facility include the topping out, expected to take place around August 2018, and the installation of the cyclotron and other major equipment in early 2019.
UAB will also be involved in clinical research studies on the use of proton therapy, to discover the full utility of the therapy and produce best practice parameters on its use.