Local Doctors Lobbying for Proton Radiation Treatment Center

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Some of the region’s top hospitals are hoping to bring the first proton radiation treatment center to the area. The tiny particles are uniquely effective in treating certain malignant tumors without causing collateral damage.

Only a handful of facilities around the world have the equipment, which requires its own building and an investment of at least $200 million. Dr.Louis Harrison of Continuum Cancer Centers of New York says enough people would benefit from ultra-focused radiation treatment to justify the expense. "There is no question the patient population exists in the New York area to support a center like this, as long as we all collaborate together," Lewis says.

Harrison and collaborators from Memorial Sloan Kettering, New York Presbyterian and Albert Einstein Medical College met last week in Albany with state hospital regulators.

A New York City proton center has not been formally proposed yet and would likely take years to fund and develop.

Critics say the benefits of proton therapy so far have been limited to a handful of cancers and the expenditure is driving up health care costs.

Currently, there are a half-dozen proton therapy centers around the country and almost that many under development or construction.

Amassing the money for such a center often takes a combination of private funding and government support.