Medical/health (158984)
Medical/health Credit: Pixabay

New York State doesn’t have an advanced cancer treatment facility. That changes in 2019.

Currently under construction, the New York Proton Center will serve close to 1,500 patients annually using targeted radiation and bean therapy to combat pediatric, head and neck and eye cancers. NYPC would be the 26th proton beam therapy facility in the country. What makes proton therapy so important?

“The reason proton is important to develop is because it’s a way to target radiation through the tumor instead of having it ricochet off the body,” said a New York City Economic Development Corporation spokesperson to the AmNews. “Radiation is not super precise and it does cause some collateral damage throughout the body. It’s important that children with developing bodes don’t have radiation.”

The NYPC will be operated by four New York-based health care institutions: the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the Montefiore Health System, the Mount Sinai Health System and ProHEALTH Proton Management, LLC. Murphy McManus, VOA Associates Incorporated and the Gilbane Building Company worked on the project’s development, design and contractor duties, respectively.

NYPC’s development is part of the NYCEDC’s East 125th Street Development plan that includes affordable housing, jobs, tech and medical innovation and commercial and retail space. But why East Harlem for this facility?

“They were looking for a center for a number of years,” said NYCEDC’s spokesperson. “Proton centers have been around in other parts of the country, but this is the first time in New York. Having this center in East Harlem is great. To put something in people’s backyard and giving them a place to get treatment without having to travel much is important. The closest center to most New York hospitals is in Somerset, N.J. If you’re really sick, you don’t want to travel that far.”

Somerset, N.J., houses the New Jersey Proton Therapy Center.

Recently, NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett, former New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer took a tour of the facility to check on its progress. In a release, Mark-Viverito said this facility would put East Harlem “on the map.”

“At EDC, our job is to keep New York City economically competitive while being an incubator of innovation – and the New York Proton Center helps us do both,” said NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett in a statement. “New York’s hospitals are home to the best doctors and researchers in the country, and through this project we are creating access to the newest technology so they can continue leading the war on cancer.”

“Having the first Proton Center ever in the state to be debuted in El Barrio/East Harlem is a welcome change and will put this neighborhood on the map as an area where new cutting-edge technology is found,” added Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverto in a statement. “It’s my hope that with this Center, more and more leading healthcare institutions will look to El Barrio as a place to invest. I want to thank EDC in true partnership with us and for their collaboration and their vision to bring this state-of-the-art treatment facility to the community.”