HU Breaks Ground For Nation’s Largest Proton Cancer Treatment Center

Hampton, Va. – Over 300 people helped Hampton University celebrate its groundbreaking for the sixth and largest proton cancer treatment center in the nation, on Monday, July 23.

“Our center is the only one of its kind in the entire Commonwealth of Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic states,” said President William R. Harvey. “The technology available at the Hampton center will make it an unparalleled hub for cancer treatment, research and technology. It will also bring extraordinarily positive attention to our state like no other healthcare investment can.”

“I would like to congratulate Dr. Harvey and Hampton University for bringing this technology to Virginia,” said Bernt Nordin, president, IBA Particle Therapy, headquartered in Belgium. “The university’s ability to make this vision a reality is inspirational for the entire radiation oncology community. IBA is proud to be associated with such a prestigious institution and to partner with Hampton in its mission to improve cancer patient outcomes.”

“It is very clear that this will be the largest, most equipped and the most beautiful proton therapy facility in the world,” said Nordin.

Numerous city and state legislators were in attendance to show support for the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute (HUPTI). “Now Hampton Roads will be known as a leader in healthcare technology,” said Congressman Bobby Scott, who has introduced legislation in support of $10 million in federal funds. Virginia Delegates Phillip Hamilton and Mamye BaCote also spoke on behalf of the center, having introduced state legislation seeking $2.5 million and $10 million, respectively

“I am thankful to Dr. Harvey and the Hampton University team,” said Hampton Mayor Ross Kearney, II. The City of Hampton donated the 5.5 acres of land for the center, because it will be a tremendous investment for the city of Hampton, said Kearney.

Mayor Joe Frank of Newport News and Mayor James Holley of Portsmouth, in addition to city council members from various municipalities throughout Hampton Roads, showed their support by attending the ceremony.

Proton therapy is widely recognized as the most precise form of cancer treatment available to date, able to target the tumor directly, proton therapy leaves healthy tissue unharmed. Patients who undergo this form of treatment have been able to maintain their normal schedules with little to no side effects.

“Cancer is the leading cause of death in Virginia, while Hampton Roads leads the nation in prostate cancer deaths,” said Harvey, explaining the importance of bringing HUPTI to Virginia.

It is abundantly clear that our efforts will ease human suffering and save lives, said Harvey. “According to the Center for Disease Control and the National Cancer Institute, one out of every three Virginians will develop some form of cancer during his or her lifetime.”

“African-Americans suffer disproportionately from cancer, accounting for 59% of all prostate cancer cases. “The death rate from prostate cancer is 2.4 times higher in black men than in white men,” said Harvey. “The Virginia Cancer Registry states that, “…the disparity in incidence rates between blacks and whites was greater in Virginia than in the nation as a whole.”

“New ground in healthcare is being broken and we are very excited,” said Clarence Lockett, member of the HU Board of Trustees.”The proton therapy institute will offer and give new hope to the many that will be treated.”

“The 98,000 square foot facility, upon its opening scheduled for 2010, will treat approximately 125 patients daily (over 2,000 patients per year) and will feature four gantry rooms and one fixed beam room.

“I am proud to be the medical director for the nation&039;s newest and largest proton therapy institute,” said Dr. Christopher Sinesi. “There&039;s nothing experimental about proton therapy. I have worked with cancer treatment for the past 20 years as a radiation oncologist and the benefits are clear and indisputable.”

Proton therapy is widely recognized as the most precise form of cancer treatment available to date, able to target the tumor directly, proton therapy leaves healthy tissue unharmed. Patients who undergo this form of treatment have been able to maintain their normal schedules with little to no side effects.

“It is my hope that everyone will see the extreme value of the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute,” said Anna Alexander, whose husband was a proton cancer survivor. “We should all do everything we can to support it.”

“The proton radiotherapy center will house some the most advanced cancer fighting technology in the world,” said Dr. Cynthia Keppel, scientific and technical director of HUPTI. “The Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute, in partnership with our collaborators such as IBA, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Jefferson Lab, Naval Health Resource Center and others, will insure that Hampton Roads is at the forefront of cancer care and technology development for years to come.”

For additional information, please contact Sarita L. Scott at 757-727-5620 or via email at sarita.scott@hamptonu.edu