VOORHEES, N.J. – A much-anticipated, high-tech facility offering the most advanced form of radiation treatment for cancer will welcome its first patients on Tuesday, April 4.
Located in Voorhees, N.J., the Penn Medicine |Virtua Health Proton Therapy Center – the first of its kind in South Jersey – is one of only about 50 such facilities in the United States.
The center is the latest development in the longtime partnership between Virtua Health, South Jersey’s largest health care system, and Penn Medicine, a renowned academic medical center based in Philadelphia.
The $45 million facility, located on the Virtua Voorhees Hospital campus, provides local patients the added convenience of being nearer to home and loved ones while undergoing treatment and recovery. The 8,600-square-foot center took nearly three years to build, including months of equipment testing and calibration.
“Proton therapy allows us to target cancer with pin-point precision that reduces the risk of side effects by avoiding damage to the surrounding, healthy tissue,” said James Metz, MD, chair of Radiation Oncology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “We’re excited to work with Virtua to bring proton therapy into the community, allowing more patients to access advanced cancer care closer to home.”
Proton therapy can be used for many cancer types, including those in highly sensitive areas like the heart, brain, and spinal cord, and cancers that cannot be completely removed by surgery. At the core of the proton therapy center is a 90-ton underground cyclotron, which accelerates sub-atomic particles to about 450 million miles per hour. This allows clinicians to deposit the protons deep into a patient’s tissue, and treat a tumor spot-by-spot while sparing the healthy tissue nearby.
The new proton therapy center in Voorhees is connected to the existing Penn Medicine |Virtua Health Radiation Oncology suite, and part of the comprehensive Penn Medicine |Virtua Health Cancer Program.
The facility offers a full range of services, including evaluation, treatment, and access to clinical trials, some involving proton therapy.
“I see the proton therapy center as a source of hope,” said Stephanie Fendrick, FACHE, MBA, executive vice president and chief strategy officer for Virtua Health. “We want every patient to know they have a care team that will guide and support them every step of the way.”
For more information, visit www.virtua.org/pennproton or call (888) 847-8823.
Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, excellence in patient care, and community service. The organization consists of the University of Pennsylvania Health System and Penn’s Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine, founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school.
The Perelman School of Medicine is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $550 million awarded in the 2022 fiscal year. Home to a proud history of “firsts” in medicine, Penn Medicine teams have pioneered discoveries and innovations that have shaped modern medicine, including recent breakthroughs such as CAR T cell therapy for cancer and the mRNA technology used in COVID-19 vaccines.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities stretch from the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania to the New Jersey shore. These include the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, Chester County Hospital, Lancaster General Health, Penn Medicine Princeton Health, and Pennsylvania Hospital—the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional facilities and enterprises include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, Penn Medicine at Home, Lancaster Behavioral Health Hospital, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, among others.
Penn Medicine is an $11.1 billion enterprise powered by more than 49,000 talented faculty and staff.