Alabama’s First Proton Therapy Center Ready to Open

January 13, 2020

Proton therapy, a highly sophisticated radiation technology for treating cancer, has come to Alabama with the opening of Proton International at UAB. The facility, begun in the winter of 2018, opened with a ribbon cutting and reception Jan. 13, 2020. The new center is a partnership between the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Proton International.

Proton International at UAB is one of only 36 proton therapy centers in the United States and the first in Alabama.

Proton International at UAB is on 20th Street South between Fourth and Fifth avenues. The facility consists of a three-story building to house clinical exam rooms, offices and the ProBeam proton therapy system, manufactured by Varian Medical Systems, a longtime partner with UAB in the delivery of radiation therapy. The medical staff, including radiation oncologists, medical physicists, dosimetrists, radiation therapy technologists and nurses, will be exclusively from UAB.

The heart of proton therapy is a machine called a cyclotron, which produces the proton beam and delivers it to the precise location in the body to destroy tumor cells. Proton International at UAB’s cyclotron, nick-named Emma, was manufactured in Germany. The $25 million, 90-ton cyclotron was brought by ship to Brunswick, Georgia, then transported to UAB last March by a specialized truck, with 20 axles, 78 wheels, and drivers in front and back. A heavy-lift crane was assembled on Fourth Avenue South to lift and deposit Emma into the facility via the roof.

Brasfield & Gorrie is the general contractor for the project, and Stantec is the architectural firm.

Learn more in a press release from UAB.