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Center will provide a first-of-its kind treatment option for patients with cancer in the Northwest

SEATTLE (March 19, 2012) – This past weekend, SCCA Proton Therapy, A ProCure Center, located on Northwest Hospital & Medical Center’s campus welcomed the arrival of its cyclotron. The cyclotron is the core piece of equipment used in proton therapy, an alternative to standard X‐ray radiation for the treatment of cancer. It accelerates protons in order to create a beam of energy that delivers targeted and effective treatments to cancer patients.

The new center, which will open in spring 2013 and treat approximately 1,400 patients annually, is the result of a partnership between ProCure Treatment Centers, Inc. (ProCure) and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA). It will be the first proton therapy center in the Northwest.

“This is an important day and a significant milestone for the proton center and patients with cancer in the Pacific Northwest,” said Hadley Ford, CEO of ProCure. “Construction of the center is well underway since its groundbreaking last March and we anticipate to be treating patients by early 2013.”

Weighing as much as a Boeing 747, the 220-ton cyclotron traveled for four weeks, leaving the Port of Antwerp, Belgium, and entering the United States through the Port of Tacoma.  The cyclotron has an 18‐foot diameter and stands eight feet high. It traveled aboard a cargo ship, arriving at the port where it was loaded onto two 15‐axle, 100‐foot‐long trailers made specifically for extraordinarily large cargo. Traveling at a top speed of 40 mph, the trailers made the 40‐mile trek to the North Seattle site over two days, delivering one half on Saturday and the other on Sunday.

“The cyclotron is an incredible piece of equipment – remarkable not only in size but also for its scientifically advanced cancer fighting abilities,” said Annika Andrews, president of SCCA Proton Therapy, A ProCure Center. “It offers the most precise form of cancer therapy available today and its arrival brings us one step closer to providing proton therapy to cancer patients in the Pacific Northwest.”

The cyclotron is the source of protons used in proton therapy and the heart of a proton center.  It removes the electron from the proton in a hydrogen atom and accelerates the remaining protons to two‐thirds the speed of light.  Electromagnets then steer groups of protons into a beam line. The beam is shaped specifically to conform to the tumor size and shape. Precise delivery of protons to the patient is supported by a highly advanced computer controlled, state‐of‐the‐art robotic patient positioning system.

"Because of the precise way it delivers radiation to tumors, this proton radiotherapy center will be an important resource for treating cancer patients in the Pacific Northwest,” said Dr. George Laramore, chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Washington and medical director of the new center. “It is going to be particularly valuable for pediatric cancer patients whose bodies are more susceptible to the long term effects of radiotherapy".

Proton therapy is an advanced form of radiation treatment for many types of cancer and some noncancerous tumors. Since proton beams significantly reduce the amount of radiation deposited in normal tissues, patients who receive proton therapy generally experience fewer side effects compared to those who undergo traditional X-ray-based radiation therapy. The precision of proton therapy makes it especially effective for treating children and adults with anatomically complex tumors, such as those at the base of the skull and along the spinal cord.

The SCCA was formed to accelerate the development and evaluation of new therapies for cancer, and in turn make those therapies more widely available in our region,” said Norm Hubbard, executive vice president of SCCA. “Proton therapy has emerged as a compelling treatment for adults and children with cancer and other tumors. Prior to the development of this center, patients would have to travel hundreds of miles to receive this precise, life-saving treatment. The center will give new hope to cancer patients in the Northwest.”

The SCCA Proton Therapy, A ProCure Center will be among only a handful of centers in the nation to offer proton therapy and will provide a first-of-its-kind treatment option for cancer patients throughout the Northwest and beyond. The 60,000-square-foot facility is the fourth in the ProCure network. SCCA and ProCure chose to build the proton center at Northwest Hospital because of the hospital’s history of building healthcare partnerships to provide emerging and innovative treatments to its community. The proton center will be conveniently located near other cancer services and complementary facilities on the Northwest Hospital campus to provide patients medical care beyond proton therapy. The proton center is currently hiring key leadership positions and will create approximately 400 temporary positions for construction and startup operations. The center has hired Washington state-based contractors to construct the building.

For more information about the cyclotron, proton therapy and the new center, visit

About ProCure Treatment Centers, Inc.
ProCure Treatment Centers, Inc. is a privately held healthcare company dedicated to improving the lives of patients with cancer by increasing access to proton therapy. The company was founded in 2005 in Bloomington, Ind., and is the first to develop a network of proton therapy centers in cities across the United States. The ProCure Proton Therapy Center in Oklahoma City opened in July 2009, the CDH Proton Center, A ProCure Center, located in Warrenville, Ill., opened in October 2010 and the ProCure Proton Therapy Center in Somerset, N.J., opened in March 2012. ProCure’s fourth center is under construction in Seattle, Wash. (opening 2013) and others are in development. ProCure provides management leadership and a comprehensive approach for the design, construction, financing, staffing, training and day-to-day operations of proton therapy centers. ProCure’s solution reduces the time, cost and effort necessary to build and operate a facility. ProCure is advancing proton therapy through innovation and improvements in technology, and by providing training at the world’s only educational facility specializing in proton therapy. For more information, visit

About Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) is a cancer treatment center that unites doctors from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, UW Medicine and Seattle Children’s. Our goal, every day, is to turn cancer patients into cancer survivors. Our purpose is to lead the world in the prevention and treatment of cancer. SCCA has three clinical care sites: an outpatient clinic on the Hutchinson Center campus; a pediatric inpatient unit at Seattle Children’s; an adult inpatient unit at UW Medical Center; and a radiation oncology clinic on the campus of Northwest Hospital. For more information about SCCA, visit 



Media Contacts:
Danielle Zarrella  / Sarah Ducharme
Richmond Public Relations
p: (206) 682-6979 / f: (206) 682-7062 /

High resolution images and video are available upon request.