Arkansas Hospitals, Georgia Company to Bring New Cancer Therapy to Arkansas

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Three Arkansas hospitals and Proton International LLC of Alpharetta, Georgia, have signed a letter of intent to bring the state’s first proton therapy center to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences’ Radiation Oncology Center.

The hospitals that have signed the letter are UAMS, Arkansas Children’s and Baptist Health. The agreement is pending approval by the UA Board of Trustees and the ACH and Baptist boards.

Proton therapy is a an alternative to radiation therapy for treating cancer. Unlike radiation, it targets tumors so that surrounding healthy tissue isn’t damaged. This therapy is particularly effective on solid tumors and is widely used to treat children with cancer, the hospitals said in a news release.

The new center will also be one of about 40 in the country.

“UAMS is excited to be able to offer this advanced technology to patients in Arkansas so that they will no longer have to leave the state for this highly effective treatment that will provide precision and reduced side effects,” UAMS Chancellor Dr. Cam Patterson said.

“The proton treatment center brings cutting-edge therapy to our patients and will be the basis of many new and novel clinical trials that will benefit our patients and clearly move the cancer research field forward,” added Dr. Michael Birrer, director of the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. “It will also help us on our journey to achieve [the] National Cancer Institute designation.”

Marcy Doderer, president and CEO of Arkansas Children’s, said, “This effort is part of our continuous commitment to the children of Arkansas to provide state-of-the-art care. Pediatric cancer patients will benefit greatly through this collaborative venture.”

Troy Wells, president and CEO of Baptist Health, added, “This is another example of how strategic collaboration with other leading health care providers can improve the health of Arkansans, and we’re happy to be bringing this therapy to Arkansas.”