Yale New Haven Health System (YNHHS) and Hartford HealthCare (HHC) today announced they have received final state approval to introduce proton beam therapy – a highly advanced form of radiation treatment for cancer – to Connecticut.
The new Connecticut Proton Therapy Center will use highly targeted radiological proton therapy rather than X-rays to treat cancer and is currently only available at a handful of facilities in the Northeast outside of Connecticut. This 25,000-square-foot center will be the first in Connecticut and located at 932 Northrop Road in Wallingford.
“Yale New Haven Health is proud and excited to bring this highly innovative technology to patients in Connecticut and beyond,” said Christopher O’Connor, CEO of Yale New Haven Health. “Our unprecedented 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. We are grateful that the state recognized the value of this technology to residents of Connecticut and the importance of this unique collaboration.”
“We look forward to bringing proton beam therapy to patients diagnosed with cancer in Connecticut who may benefit from this advanced form of treatment. Access to this treatment, close to home, will be transformational for many patients,” said Peter M. Glazer, MD, PhD, Robert E. Hunter Professor and Chair of Therapeutic Radiology.
“This is a historic moment for cancer care in Connecticut,” said Hartford HealthCare President and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey A. Flaks. “We are thankful for the state’s support of this innovative partnership with Yale New Haven Health and Proton International. Together, we are transforming healthcare. This newly established partnership will not only provide our patients and our communities access to proton therapy – one of the most clinically advanced radiation treatments in the world, but it will make Connecticut a ‘world-class’ destination hub when it comes to state-of-the-art cancer care. I could not be more proud of this partnership that will undoubtedly be a game-changer in the lives of cancer patients.”
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 International (PI) is the project manager and operator for the proposed proton facility. Their role will be to assist with technology selection, financing, and construction, as well as management and operation of the facility.
“Proton International is dedicated to creating access for patients to this important technology,” said Chris Chandler, CEO of Proton International. “Our ability to work with Yale New Haven Health and Hartford HealthCare assures the citizens of Connecticut will have access to a very high-quality cancer treatment program closer to home.”
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 breast. It is particularly beneficial for children, as they are more vulnerable to damage to healthy tissue from radiation.
The Wallingford center, which is projected to open in 2025, will include the latest technology and equipment; treatment room; control room; exam rooms and clinical space. Employees will include physicians and clinical staff from YNHHS and HHC, as well as additional new staff.