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

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#ProtonTherapy–Proton International and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)
announced today they are securing necessary approvals to begin
construction this year of a proton therapy center that will provide
cancer patients with an effective treatment option that is an
alternative to traditional radiation therapy. Proton therapy is a highly
precise treatment for treating cancer and some non-cancerous tumors
without many of the side effects that often accompany traditional
radiation therapy. This will be the 4th of 7 centers Proton
International has been involved with as one of the world’s leading
developers of facilities offering this advanced therapy.

The UAB center, which will be the first in the State, has been approved
by an Administrative Law Judge appointed by the Alabama State Health
Planning and Development Agency. The two-year construction process is
expected to begin this year with an opening planned for 2019. Proton
International will build and own the center with UAB physicians
providing clinical services and providing the leadership for education
and research within the facility.

“This is a significant step forward in cancer treatment for residents of
Alabama and surrounding areas,” said Will Ferniany, PhD, and CEO of the
UAB Health System. “Proton therapy is an extremely advanced
cancer-fighting technology. Coupled with the skill, experience and
resources of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, the UAB Proton Therapy
Center will be a life-changing resource for thousands of cancer patients
throughout our region.” The Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only
National Cancer Institute Designated Cancer Center in Alabama.

“UAB is joining a stellar group of 25 of the nation’s top hospitals and
cancer treatment centers providing proton therapy to patients,” said
Chris Chandler, CEO, who founded Proton International after developing,
opening and overseeing the operation of some of the first proton centers
in the U.S. and Europe. “This center will have advanced proton therapy
technology – a fully featured system with dynamic peak pencil beam
scanning, developed by Varian Medical Systems an important technology

“Recent advances in imaging have made proton therapy much more viable,”
said John Fiveash, M.D., professor in the UAB Department of Radiation
Oncology. “It uses sophisticated imaging to create a 3D image of the
tumor. It then delivers a focused beam of radiation, custom-sized and
shaped, so that it paints the tumor site while leaving surrounding
tissue generally untouched, reducing collateral damage.”

It is conservatively estimated that some 250,000 cancer patients in the
U.S. alone could benefit from proton therapy, which is mainly being used
to treat solid cancer tumors, including tumors of the brain and central
nervous system, spine, head and neck, lung, prostate, liver,
gastrointestinal tract and colon, and some breast tumors. While it
primarily treats single-site tumors, it can in some cases be used for
treating cancer that has spread (metastasized) to surrounding tissue
because of its focused dose capabilities.

Protons are widely used to treat children, who are particularly
sensitive to the effects of radiation therapy. Because of its precision
in targeting tumors, proton therapy greatly reduces damage to nearby
healthy tissue, which is the cause of most short- and long-term
side-effects, including cancer recurrence later in life.

The three-story UAB Proton Center will be built on the Campus of UAB.
Planning and pre-treatment will continue to be done at UAB’s
Hazelrig-Salter Radiation Oncology Center and medical staff will be
exclusively from UAB. The center will enroll its patients in national
proton therapy registries and will participate in clinical research
studies to advance the application of proton therapy and determine best

In partnering with Proton International UAB has a team of proven
providers. Proton International is currently participating in the
development of 7 centers two of which are under construction; another
set to break ground in March, and a memorandum of understanding approved
for 4 others. PI’s turnkey development model significantly lowers
project risk and provides access to long-term funding. For this project
UAB and PI have selected Varian Medical Systems, an innovator in proton
therapy systems Varian has been a longtime partner with UAB in the
delivery of radiation therapy, and this new proton system will integrate
UAB’s existing network of Varian products, including TrueBeam linear
accelerators, Eclipse treatment planning, and ARIA information system.

About 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
— 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

About Proton International

Proton International (PI)
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, as well as larger
facilities, on a turnkey basis. The PI team has developed and operated
large centers and as well as the smaller alternatives. PI has centers
under construction with Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Mich., and the
University Medical Center in Groningen, The Netherlands; as well as an
upcoming project with Delray Medical Center, Delray Beach, Fla. 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.


Proton International
Kristen Chandler, 502-939-3323