State's first cancer-treating cyclotron comes to Knoxville

State's first cancer-treating cyclotron comes to Knoxville

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The cyclotron weighs 20 tons and will be used to treat cancer. The cyclotron weighs 20 tons and will be used to treat cancer.
"Big cities like New York and Los Angeles still do not have this technology," explained Scott Warwick, Provision Health Alliance vice president of clinical operations. "We are excited, as Provision, to bring this to the people of East Tennessee." "Big cities like New York and Los Angeles still do not have this technology," explained Scott Warwick, Provision Health Alliance vice president of clinical operations. "We are excited, as Provision, to bring this to the people of East Tennessee."

By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Some motorists who drove between Asheville Highway and Middlebrook Pike Thursday morning experienced a few delays.

The transportation of a 200-ton piece of medical equipment, called a cyclotron, caused a few traffic backups.

The equipment left Forks of the River Industrial Park at 9 a.m. and was dropped off at Dowell Springs Business Park off of Middlebrook Pike several hours later.

Before it got to Knoxville, the cyclotron traveled 8,000 miles.

"It started in Belgium," said Provision Health Alliance Vice President of Business and Strategic Development Bill Hansen. "It traveled across the Atlantic on a very large ship."

The cyclotron weighs as much as two space shuttles and comes in two pieces. The first piece was delivered Thursday, and the second on Friday.

It's part of new construction project at Provision Health Alliance.

"Cyclotron is a device that produces protons," explained Scott Warwick, Provision Health Alliance vice president of clinical operations. "We accelerate hydrogen atoms to two-thirds the speed of light."

When that happens, they are able to pinpoint radiation directly on tumors. This technology helps to treat several types of cancer, including prostate, lung, and brain cancer.

There are only 30 cyclotrons in the world. The United States has 10 of those. The closest cyclotrons to Knoxville are in Indiana and Florida. This will be the first one in Tennessee.

"Big cities like New York and Los Angeles still do not have this technology," said Warwick. "We are excited, as Provision, to bring this to the people of East Tennessee."

This technology has been around for about 20 years, but the cost keeps many people from using it. Cyclotrons cost about $20 million.

Provision plans to start treating patients with the cyclotron in 2014.

The second piece of the cyclotron will be transported Friday morning at 9 a.m. There will be several road delays, so motorists are asked to take alternative routes.

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