July 15, 2020
LITTLE ROCK — The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), Arkansas Children’s, Baptist Health and Proton International (PI) have signed a Letter of Intent to bring proton therapy — an alternative to radiation therapy for treating cancer — to Arkansas.
The proton treatment center will be the first in Arkansas and one of only about 40 in the country. It will be located at the UAMS Radiation Oncology Center.
“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,” said UAMS Chancellor Cam Patterson, M.D. MBA.
Proton therapy precisely targets tumors, sparing the surrounding healthy tissues.
“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,” said Michael Birrer, M.D., Ph.D., director of the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. “It will also help us on our journey to achieve National Cancer Institute Designation.”
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, as children are particularly sensitive to the effects of radiation therapy.
“Arkansas Children’s is pleased to play a role in bringing proton therapy to Arkansas. 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,” said Marcy Doderer, president and CEO of Arkansas Children’s.
"Baptist Health's mission is to ensure the best care for patients," said Troy Wells, president and CEO of Baptist Health. "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."
“The Proton International team is pleased to be working with our partners to bring this important technology to the citizens of Arkansas and the surrounding region. The vision of UAMS, Baptist Health and Arkansas Children’s to assure this technology will be available in the fight against cancer will make a real difference in patients’ lives” said Chris Chandler CEO of Proton International.
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.
The agreement is pending approval by the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees and the boards of Arkansas Children’s and Baptist Health.
About Baptist Health
Baptist Health is Arkansas’ most comprehensive health care organization with more than 200 points of access that include 11 hospitals; urgent care centers; a senior living community and over 100 primary and specialty care clinics in Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. The system additionally offers a college with studies in nursing and allied health; a graduate residency program; and access to virtual care anytime, anywhere. Baptist Health, as the largest not-for-profit health care organization based in Arkansas, provides care to patients wherever they are through the support of approximately 11,000 employees, groundbreaking treatments, renowned physicians and community outreach programs. For more information about Baptist Health, visit baptist-health.com, call Baptist Health HealthLine at 1-888-BAPTIST or download the myBaptistHealth app. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
About Arkansas Children’s
Arkansas Children's, Inc. is the only healthcare system in the state solely dedicated to caring for Arkansas' 703,000 children. The private, non-profit organization includes two pediatric hospitals, a pediatric research institute and USDA nutrition center, a philanthropic foundation, a nursery alliance, statewide clinics, and many education and outreach programs — all focused on fulfilling a promise to define and deliver unprecedented child health. Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) is a 336-bed, Magnet-recognized facility in Little Rock operating the state’s only Level I pediatric trauma center; the state's only burn center; the state's only Level IV neonatal intensive care unit; the state's only pediatric intensive care unit; the state’s only pediatric surgery program with Level 1 verification from the American College of Surgeons (ACS); the state’s only magnetoencephalography (MEG) system for neurosurgical planning and cutting-edge research; and the state's only nationally recognized pediatric transport program. Additionally, ACH is nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report in four pediatric subspecialties (2020—2021): Cardiology & Heart Surgery, Nephrology, Pulmonology and Urology. ACH is one of only five hospitals in the nation that have achieved Magnet Status, ACS Level 1 verification and a Beacon award from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. Arkansas Children’s Northwest (ACNW), the first and only pediatric hospital in the Northwest Arkansas region, opened in Springdale in early 2018. ACNW operates a 24-bed inpatient unit; a surgical unit with five operating rooms; outpatient clinics offering over 20 subspecialties; diagnostic services; imaging capabilities; occupational therapy services; and Northwest Arkansas' only pediatric emergency department, equipped with 30 exam rooms. Generous philanthropic and volunteer engagement has sustained Arkansas Children's since it began as an orphanage in 1912, and today ensures the system can fundamentally transform the health of children in Arkansas and beyond. To learn more, visit archildrens.org.
About Proton International
Proton International, www.protonintl.com, has an experienced team dedicated to bringing proton therapy to patients. The company works with hospitals and physician groups to develop one- and two-room proton therapy facilities on a turnkey basis. The PI team has developed and operated multiple centers and is currently active on several projects. Proton International completed proton centers at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan University Medical Center in Groningen, The Netherlands, University of Alabama Birmingham, and Delray Beach, Florida; where the centers are currently treating patients. The company has several additional centers under design and construction. PI’s business model ensures that projects are completed on time, on budget, and within the scope and needs of the institution. Services include business planning, organizational structure, financing, building design and construction, installation and commissioning, equipment, staff training, and more.
UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewirede network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS’ clinical enterprise including its hospital, regional clinics and clinics it operates or staffs in cooperation with other providers. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report named UAMS Medical Center the state’s Best Hospital; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide; and named six areas as high performing — cancer, colon cancer surgery, heart failure, hip replacement, knee replacement and lung cancer surgery. UAMS has 2,727 students, 870 medical residents and five dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.