The Maryland Proton Treatment Center celebrated the grand opening of its new $200 million, 110,000-square-foot facility in West Baltimore on June 1. More than 600 people – faculty members and staff, elected officials, community doctors and cancer survivors – attended the event. June 1 is National Cancer Survivors Day, and the event, which had a ‘Survivor’ theme, based on the reality TV show, also honored cancer survivors. The new facility is the first proton treatment center in the Baltimore-Washington area.
Speakers at the event included:
- William F. Regine, MD, FACR, FACRO, the Isadore & Fannie Schneider Foxman Endowed Chair and Professor in Radiation Oncology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM) and Executive Director of the Maryland Proton Treatment Center (MPTC)
- E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, Dean, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Vice President for Medical Affairs, University of Maryland, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor.
- Rep. Elijah Cummings
- Robert Chrencik, MBA, President and CEO, University of Maryland Medical System
- Bruce Jarrell, MD, Chief Academic and Research Officer, University of Maryland, Baltimore; and
- State Sen. Catherine Pugh, Board Member, University of Maryland Medical System
The Maryland Proton Treatment Center offers proton therapy – a highly advanced and precise form of radiation therapy that can increase radiation dose to tumor while decreasing dose to healthy, surrounding tissue – to the Baltimore/Washington region and beyond. It is a highly effective treatment for a wide range of localized tumors such as those found in the brain, base of the skull, head and neck area, eye tumors, tumors of the esophagus, lung, prostate, liver, breast, spinal cord, as well as gastrointestinal malignancies. It is also an important treatment option for children with cancer.
“This is an incredibly exciting and historic moment for this institution, our state, and the many cancer patients who will seek care inside this new building,” said Dean Reece. “A little more than four years ago, we were gathered across the street to commemorate the official groundbreaking for this project. Behind the scenes, however, the Department of Radiation Oncology has been working tirelessly for more than a decade to bring this center to fruition.”
The event took place in an outdoor tent next to the facility. The inside of the tent looked like a “Survivor” location, with distressed wood furniture, live tropical trees and plants, pier pilings, wooden crates, vintage oak barrels, and heavy ship rope. In the center of the tent there will be a 15 foot tall hand carved “Tree of Life.”
The theme highlighted the center’s goal of helping patients survive their disease. Over 650 guests attended, including UMB and UM SOM leadership, faculty and staff of Radiation Oncology Department, patients, donors, referring physicians, elected officials, directors of the SOM Board of Visitors, the UM Research Park Corporation and UMB Foundation Board, developer and ownership team, contractors, architects, residents of the Poppleton community, members of the bioscience business community, and members of the greater Baltimore business community.
Many guests filled out the tribute tags to survivors that were hung on the Tree of Life. The event began with a video tribute from Jeff Probst, the host of the hit TV series “Survivor.” It ended with a video honoring Phoebe, a five-year-old cancer patient who came from Australia this spring to get treatment at the MPTC.