- The Mayo Clinic will build a $233 million integrated oncology facility on its Florida campus, set to include proton beam therapy, the health system announced Monday.
- Mayo Clinic introduced proton beam therapy at its campuses in Minnesota and Arizona in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
- The 140,000-square-foot oncology facility in Jacksonville is expected to be completed in late 2023. Mayo Clinic said the ability to offer proton beam therapy in its integrated oncology facility will make the nonprofit hospital and its Florida campus in particular more competitive with other leading cancer centers. In Jacksonville, two other healthcare providers already offer the therapy: University of Florida Health and the Ackerman Cancer Center.
Proton therapy in cancer treatment is designed to deliver radiation therapy more precisely, sparing healthy tissue, with lower doses of radiation than traditional radiotherapy, reducing toxicity and side effects in patients. There are currently at least 30 proton therapy centers in operation or development in the U.S., according to a map maintained by the National Association for Proton Therapy.
The treatment is thought to be beneficial for people with tumors close to or inside vital organs and for young patients whose organs are still developing. It is used to treat tumors including brain, breast, esophageal, eye, gastrointestinal, gynecological, head and neck, liver, lung, lymphoma, prostate, soft tissue and spine, as well as many pediatric cancers.
But proton therapy is expensive, and not all insurance policies cover it. The closing of the Indiana University Proton Therapy Center was announced in 2014 amid financial losses, and the Scripps Proton Therapy Center in San Diego filed for bankruptcy protection in 2017.
Still, many believe in the promise of the therapy, and new facilities continue to open. The first proton therapy facility in New York state opened earlier this month. The $300 million, 140,000-square-foot facility is a joint effort of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Montefiore Health System and Mount Sinai Health System. The group in 2015 signed a 10-year, $115 million agreement with Varian Medical Systems for service with its ProBeam proton therapy system.
A Mayo spokesperson told MedTech Dive a final decision has not yet been made regarding which manufacturer will outfit the Florida proton center. Its Rochester and Phoenix locations house systems made by Hitachi.
The Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville also offers cancer treatment options including chemotherapy, immunotherapy, chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) therapy, surgery, gamma knife radiosurgery and traditional radiotherapy. Kent Thielen, CEO of Mayo's Florida operations, said in a statement the addition of the proton beam therapy center will give patients access to clinical trials offered through the hospital’s National Cancer Institute-designated center.