November 18, 2017 |
Mayo Clinic Opening Proton Radiation Facility
February 1, 2016  | 

Tuscon, AZ - Patients will no longer have to travel out of state to get access to the most technologically advanced form of radiation available to fight cancer. The Mayo Clinic Hospital in northeast Phoenix is poised to open a $180 million facility that will allow patients access to proton radiation, which allows greater control in targeting cancer cells, while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue.

The apparatus inside the new three-story building adjacent to the hospital is a marvel of medical engineering. The facility’s 100,000 square feet are encased in two-thirds as much concrete as was used to build the entire University of Phoenix football stadium.

More than 16,000 metal shims were used to hand-build the massive circular accelerator, called a “synchotron,” that harnesses the power of magnets to gather and steer particles as they spin and reach successively higher energies, close to the speed of light. The beam, which runs the length of a football field, is concentrated through nozzles that deliver the therapy into four treatment rooms.

But because physicians can regulate the velocity of the protons, radiation can be highly targeted to a pre-determined depth, and can reduce the dose in surrounding tissues by as much as 75 to 99 percent in some cancers, compared to standard radiation therapy, said Dr. Sameer Keole, who leads the proton center.

Delivering more focused doses is important, given lifetime dose limits of radiation and the potential for complications, such as anemia. Continue>

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