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UAMS opens Arkansas’ first proton radiation therapy center for cancer patients

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UAMS opens Arkansas’ first proton radiation therapy center for cancer patients

Sep 27, 2023 | 8:07 pm ET
By Tess Vrbin
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UAMS opens Arkansas’ first proton radiation therapy center for cancer patients
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The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. (Bryan Clifton for UAMS)

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences on Wednesday opened a new radiation therapy center, the first of its kind in Arkansas.

The Proton Center of Arkansas at UAMS’ Little Rock campus will “provide the most advanced cancer radiation treatment in the world” to both children and adults, and it is the nation’s 43th proton treatment center, according to a press release.

Proton radiation therapy “uses positively charged proton particles to destroy tumors, often in hard-to-reach areas, with greater precision and significantly less damage to healthy organs and tissues” than X-ray radiation therapy, the release states.

The Proton Center is part of the $65 million, 58,000-square-foot UAMS Radiation Oncology Center, which opened in July after more than two years of construction.

UAMS built the center in partnership with Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Baptist Health and Proton International, a company that helps medical facilities open proton radiation centers.

UAMS is currently the only hospital in Arkansas that provides radiation therapy for children with cancer. Proton therapy is safer for children than other radiation, which can lead to developmental delays and other long-term issues due to unnecessary exposure, according to the release.

“This is an exciting day for advancing child health in Arkansas,” Marcy Doderer, president and CEO of Arkansas Children’s, said in the press release. “Through this partnership, the children we serve will now have access to this specialized treatment close to home.”