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Proton International and the University of Alabama at Birmingham to Develop State’s First Proton Treatment Center

UAB Signs Memorandum of Understanding with International Developer

Birmingham, Ala. – Proton International announced today it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Alabama at Birmingham, a leading Alabama healthcare provider and the only National Cancer Institute Designated Cancer Center in Alabama, to develop a proton treatment center, the first for the State. The University of Alabama at Birmingham Health System (UAB Medicine) is the fourth organization to sign an agreement to work with Proton International (PI) to build a center providing proton therapy, a highly effective and precise alternative to traditional radiation therapy for treating cancer and some non-cancerous tumors but without many of the side effects that often accompany treatment.

UAB Medicine will be among a select group of hospitals in the country to offer advanced proton therapy technology using a fully featured compact system with dynamic peak pencil beam scanning, developed by Varian Medical Systems.

Proton therapy is particularly effective in treating solid cancer tumors, including tumors of the brain, spine, head and neck, lung, prostate, colon, and some breast tumors. It is widely used to treat children with cancer because of its precision and reduction in long-term side effects, as children are particularly sensitive to the effects of radiation therapy. Every new center will increase the number of proton treatment facilities enrolling patients in national data registries and in clinical research trials to document clinical outcomes and enhance the benefits from an appropriate use of the therapy.

“Protons will bring the latest cancer treatment technology to UAB, allowing us to treat deep seeded cancers and spare surrounding normal tissue in certain difficult cases,” said Dr. James A. Bonner, the Merle M. Salter Endowed Professor and Chairman in the UAB School of Medicine Department of Radiation Oncology and president of the University of Alabama Health Services Foundation. “We are excited about the opportunity to offer this cutting edge approach for patients and families in Birmingham, across Alabama and beyond.”

“UAB Medicine will be involved in offering a very important cancer treatment alternative to its patients with the addition of protons,” said Chris Chandler, CEO of PI, who founded the company after developing, opening and overseeing the operation of several proton centers in the U.S. and Europe. “UAB will offer the most advanced radiation technology available.”

There are currently 23 proton therapy centers operating in the U.S. today and another seven under construction (National Association for Proton Therapy, 2016).

UAB Medicine is joining a growing list of medical providers opting for smaller, more affordable one-room facilities, which is the specialty of Proton International. PI has two one-room centers under construction; another set to break ground in the Fall of 2016 and a memorandum of understanding approved for a fifth to be announced. PI’s turnkey development model significantly lowers project risk and provides access to long-term funding.

About UAB Medicine

UAB Medicine comprises the School of Medicine and the $3 billion UAB Health System that includes all of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s patient-care activities and 2,300 licensed beds in six hospitals, one of which is UAB Hospital — the third-largest public hospital in the United States, winner of the Women's Choice award, and one of U.S. News and World Report's Best Hospitals. UAB is the state of Alabama’s largest single employer and an internationally renowned research university and academic health center; its professional schools and specialty patient-care programs are consistently ranked among the nation’s top 50. UAB is the largest academic medical center in Alabama and one of the top four largest academic medical centers in the United States. UAB’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science is advancing innovative discoveries for better health as a two-time recipient of the prestigious Center for Translational Science Award. Find more information at www.uab.edu and www.uabmedicine.org.