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April 22, 2022

Jefferson Health to develop proton therapy center in Northeast Philadelphia

The plans for a cancer treatment facility at the Torresdale campus would be just the second in the city

Health News Cancer Treatment
Jefferson Health Proton Therapy Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Jefferson Health is developing plans to build a proton therapy cancer treatment center at its Torresdale campus in Northeast Philadelphia.

Jefferson Health is in the early stages of planning a new proton therapy center at its Torresdale campus that would expand the cutting-edge cancer treatment option to patients across the Philadelphia region.

An application filed with the Philadelphia Planning Commission details plans for a two-story, 42,645-square-foot project to be built at the 10800 Knights Road campus in Northeast Philadelphia. 

Jefferson Health spokesperson Deana Gamble confirmed that the project is being developed.

“Jefferson Health is committed to offering top-tier, innovative cancer care and research to its patients through the NCI-designated Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center," Gamble said. "Proton therapy supports our commitment to providing the most advanced treatment options as part of our comprehensive cancer care. As such, Jefferson Health is pursuing a partnership with Legion Healthcare Partners to develop a state-of-the-art Proton Therapy Center that will be located at Jefferson Torresdale Hospital.”

Legion Healthcare Partners is a Houston-based health services firm that provides financing, development and management consulting for cancer centers – including proton therapy.

The new facility would be one of just a few in the region offering the advanced, minimally invasive treatment.

Proton therapy, a relatively new type of radiation therapy, often is used to treat cancers as well as benign tumors. Instead of using X-rays, which also touch non-cancer cells, proton beams enter the body at low doses of radiation that spare healthy tissue.

Proton therapy causes fewer side effects than traditional radiation because it enables doctors to target more precise areas. It has been used to treat a wide range of cancers including brain cancer, spinal tumors, breast cancer, head and neck cancer, gastrointestinal cancers, gynecological cancers, kidney cancer, lung cancer, lymphoma, mesothelioma, oropharyngeal cancer, pediatric cancer and prostate cancer.

The only proton therapy site currently in Philadelphia is Penn Medicine's Roberts Proton Therapy Center, which opened in 2010. Penn will soon open a second proton therapy center in Lancaster, an 8,000-square-foot facility that cost $48 million. These projects can range in cost up to about $200 million.

There also are two other proton therapy facilities in New Jersey – the ProCure Proton Treatment Center in Somerset and the Laurie Proton Therapy Center at RWJBarnabas Health in New Brunswick. Penn Medicine and Virtua Health are preparing to open another facility in Voorhees later this year.

There are 39 proton therapy centers currently operating in the U.S., with plans underway to expand these facilities in the years ahead.

Jefferson Health has undergone a major expansion over the last decade, growing to an 18-hospital network with a growing number of cancer care facilities outside the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

A timeline for the proton therapy center at the Torresdale campus is not yet known.

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