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JUNE 7, 2006
  UPDATE: University of Pennsylvania Health System to Begin Construction of Proton Therapy Treatment Facility
  Cancer Patients to Have Access to the Most Precise and Sophisticated Treatment Available

(Philadelphia, PA) – The University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS) has announced today that they will begin construction on a new proton therapy treatment facility to provide patients in the greater-Philadelphia region and beyond with the most advanced and sophisticated form of cancer treatment available. To be equipped by the Ion Beam Application, S.A. (IBA) company based in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, the proton therapy center will be located adjacent to The Raymond and Ruth Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine, a $302 million structure that is now being built to house Penn’s outpatient cancer, cardiovascular, diagnostic, and surgical services. Receiving final University Board approval on June 15th, the UPHS Proton Therapy Treatment Center will cost approximately $140 million and take about three years to complete. The first patient is expected to be treated in 2009. The UPHS Center – the first such facility between Boston and Florida – will greatly enhance the mission of the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania to continually expand and integrate optimum patient services and clinical care.

Proton therapy is the most precise form of advanced radiation therapy available to treat certain cancers and other diseases. It works by precisely targeting a focused beam of high-dose radiation to a specific tumor site – thereby decreasing by up to 70% the destruction of surrounding normal tissue. Due to its exacting capabilities, proton therapy results in fewer side-effects and clinical complications for patients; and, it enhances the physician’s ability to treat tumors close to critical organs and/or the spinal cord.

The UPHS program will be comprised of up to five treatment rooms, four gantries (the massive, 90-ton rotational machines designed to deliver the therapeutic beam at the precise angle prescribed by the physician), and one fixed-beam room. The proton therapy treatment center at UPHS will have the most advanced options available for patient positioning and comfort, and will also include a separate research room. It will also be used to treat pediatric cancers, continuing the historically close relationship between UPHS and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. All told, the center will be the largest and most advanced proton-therapy center ever built.

“We are delighted be able to offer our patients such a progressive and successful treatment opportunity with IBA, a company with demonstrated expertise in the design and construction of proton therapy centers in the United States and around the world,” said Ralph W. Muller, Chief Executive Officer of the University of Pennsylvania Health System. “Through this partnership, UPHS will be able to provide the most advanced form of radiation therapy available to cancer patients. This will further enhance our existing cancer-treatment capabilities, which encompass the most sophisticated and effective medical and surgical therapies and include more than 100 current treatment clinical trials.”


PENN Medicine is a $2.9 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

Penn's School of Medicine is ranked #2 in the nation for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #3 in the nation in U.S.News & World Report's most recent ranking of top research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System includes three hospitals [Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, which is consistently ranked one of the nation's few "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S.News & World Report; Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's first hospital; and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center]; a faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network; two multispecialty satellite facilities; and home care and hospice.


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