Cyclotron Arrival a Major Step Forward for Emory Proton Therapy Center

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Emory Proton Therapy Center’s cyclotron, nicknamed “Jocelyn,” was loaded into the facility in front of dozens of onlookers on Thursday, July 13. Once operational, the Center will provide targeted cancer treatment to around 1,700 patients annually.

“The most profound thing about today’s event is the tremendous capacity that this cyclotron has for saving lives and reducing suffering of cancer patients at their most vulnerable moments,” Mayor Kasim Reed said at the event.

The new facility will be part of North Avenue’s expanding medical technology district, and will bring 128 permanent medical jobs and $500 million in projected economic impact to Midtown.

Mayor Reed added: “I’m proud that the City of Atlanta, through Invest Atlanta, has been able to partner with the Emory Proton Therapy Center to see that this facility realizes its full potential. The Proton Center will further solidify the City of Atlanta’s reputation as a global healthcare destination.”

Ashley Preisinger, GPTC President, spoke about the cylcotron’s journey in numerical terms. She said it took a 78-wheel truck towing a 210-foot trailer to bring the 90-ton proton accelerator on its 250-mile trip from Savannah to Atlanta.

“But 35,000 is my favorite number, and the one that has kept me motivated during uncertain times,” she said. “That’s the number of patients we’ll be able to treat here over the next 20 years.”

The Invest Atlanta board supported the Center by agreeing to issue up to $400 million in tax-exempt 501(c)(3) bonds, with proceeds going toward final construction costs and refinancing the project’s existing debt. And on June 28, 2017, the board approved the final bond pricing.

Proton therapy is a highly-advanced form of radiation therapy that can provide cancer patients with an increased likelihood of superior clinical outcomes and fewer side effects or complications when compared to surgery, chemotherapy, and conventional radiation therapy alternatives. The Emory Proton Therapy Center will be one of just 25 such facilities in the U.S.

Building construction will continue as additional equipment for each of four gantry rooms arrives. Patient consults are slated to begin for the center in fall 2018, and the first patients will be treated in winter 2018.