Preliminary work on a proton cancer center at the site of the old Dallas Apparel Mart is expected to begin soon. And the city is making plans to kick in $7 million to jumpstart construction. Proton technology more precisely attacks tumors with fewer side effects.
Groundbreaking on the $220 million proton center is set for November. After the ceremony, the first order of business is demolition and new, underground drainage conduits to help prevent flooding in the growing medical district. The city council’s economic development committee gave preliminary approval to use the $7 million in special tax district funds for that work. The full council is expected to approve next week.
The Dallas proton cancer treatment center is funded, owned and designed by Advanced Particle Therapy of San Diego. But, UT Southwestern Medical Center will operate the center on Stemmons Expressway just south of Medical District Drive. Dr. Hak Choy, chair of radiation oncology says this center will feature only the more precise, so-called pencil beam scanners.
“Sharpens the beam around the tumor edge and sparing normal tissue.” Choy explains. “So that’s a technological advancement.”
Dr. Choy says the center expects to treat about 2,000 patients annually. Right now, the closest proton therapy centers at in Oklahoma City and Houston.
“I think the interest from the patient side is tremendous,” Choy says. “As we know a fair number of patients from the Dallas Fort Worth area go down to MD Anderson for their cancer care.”
The Dallas proton center is funded, designed and owned by Advanced Particle Therapy. will have five treatment rooms, one more than most. Dr. Choy says the first patient will be seen in early 2017.
Texas Oncology and Baylor are leading a consortium building a proton center in Irving. It anticipates patients in 2015.