Hartford HealthCare (HHC) and Yale New Haven Health System (YNHHS) today announced a plan to work together to bring proton beam therapy — a highly advanced form of radiation treatment for cancer – to Connecticut. HHC and YNHHS will seek approval from the state Office of Health Strategy to move forward with the project, which would include construction of a 25,000-square-foot proton therapy center at 932 Northrop Road in Wallingford.
The highly targeted radiological treatment uses protons rather than X-rays to treat cancer, and is only available at a handful of locations in the Northeast – none of them in Connecticut.
The two health systems selected Proton International (PI) as project manager and operator for the proposed proton facility. PI is an established and experienced developer and operator of proton centers throughout the country having helped to develop and operate multiple centers nationwide.
“Yale New Haven Health is proud and excited to bring this highly innovative technology to patients in Connecticut,” said Richard D’Aquila, President of Yale New Haven Health and Yale New Haven Hospital. “Our unique collaboration with HHC will allow us to care for patients with cancer in a new and effective way by bringing a life-changing therapy to our state.”
“This is a historic moment for cancer care in Connecticut,” said Hartford HealthCare President and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey A. Flaks. “This is a truly innovative partnership that will bring our patients access to the most advanced treatment in the world, close to home.”
Proton therapy is a type of radiation therapy that uses a high energy beam of protons to irradiate cancer. The chief advantage of proton therapy over other types of radiotherapy is that the dose is more finely controlled. With proton beam, there is less entry, exit, and scattered radiation so that physicians can safely deliver higher doses of radiation to tumors with fewer side effects.
Proton therapy is appropriate for many solid cancer tumors, including tumors of the brain and central nervous system, eye, gastrointestinal tract, head and neck, liver, lung, prostate, spine and some breast tumors. It is particularly beneficial for children, as they are more vulnerable to damage to healthy tissue from radiation.
As proposed, the Wallingford center would include the latest technology and equipment; treatment room; control room; exam rooms and clinical space. Employees will include physicians and clinical staff from YNHH and HHC, as well as additional new staff.
“We are very proud to host this innovative partnership between Hartford HealthCare and Yale New Haven Health,” said Wallingford Mayor William Dickinson. “It’s so exciting that we will have cancer treatment of this caliber so easily accessible, right here in Wallingford. Not having to drive out of state to get proton therapy treatment will be such a blessing to so many people.”