The region’s only cyclotron will complete its 3,700 mile transatlantic journey from Belgium by arriving with a police escort from the Port Authority of Philadelphia to the Roberts Proton Therapy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, which will comprise a dedicated pediatric program administered by The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
The cyclotron weighs 220 tons, about the same as a 747 airliner, but is only 18 feet in diameter and 8 feet high. In order for it to be safely transported on paved roads, a special 19-axle, 200-foot long trailer truck was constructed.
The cyclotron’s job is to accelerate atoms to near-light speeds to create a healing beam of energy that can then be targeted to kill cancerous/malignant tumors with unprecedented accuracy, without harming nearby healthy tissue or organs.
For the final leg of its journey, the massively heavy, metal accelerator will be greeted by the Mummer All-Stars, marking the occasion that represents a landmark new option for the treatment of cancer in the Philadelphia region.
The cyclotron’s energy beam will be directed to five treatment rooms, each over two stories tall, making the Roberts Proton Therapy Center the largest of its kind in the world and the only cancer treatment center to fully integrate conventional radiology treatment and proton beam therapy.
The Proton Therapy Program will begin treating patients in 2009.
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia will be the first freestanding children’s hospital to provide a more advanced and targeted approach to cancer treatment. In the future, 60 to 70 percent of children who receive conventional radiation could benefit from proton therapy.
In addition, Penn has established a new relationship with Walter Reed Army Medical Center, through which proton therapy technology will be available to treat United States military personnel and veterans.
Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $7.8 billion enterprise.
The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 20 years, according to U.S. News & World Report’s survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation’s top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $405 million awarded in the 2017 fiscal year.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center — which are recognized as one of the nation’s top “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report — Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Medicine Princeton Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital – the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, a leading provider of highly skilled and compassionate behavioral healthcare.
Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2017, Penn Medicine provided $500 million to benefit our community.