Mayo Clinic broke ground for a cutting edge cancer therapy facility at its Phoenix campus, with Hunt Construction Group, Scottsdale, as general contractor and AECOM, Minneapolis, as architect. The $182-million facility will house Mayo Clinic's Proton Beam Therapy program.

Image courtesy Mayo Clinic
Rendering of Mayo Clinic's new Phoenix facility, to house new proton beam therapy treatment equipment.

As part of the integrated program, Mayo Clinic will build facilities on Mayo's campuses in Minnesota and Arizona. The Arizona proton beam therapy program will be located east of the Mayo Clinic Specialty Building on the Phoenix campus at 56th Street and Loop 101. The new program will employ intensity modulated proton therapy — based on pencil beam scanning — which is a more precise form of proton therapy treatment that allows greater control over radiation doses, shorter treatment times and fewer side effects

Of the existing proton therapy centers in the United States, few use pencil beam scanning exclusively, according to Mayo Clinic officials. All eight treatment rooms at Mayo Clinic's two new facilities will feature this advanced technology.

The precision of pencil beam proton therapy makes it especially effective for treating children and adults with tumors adjacent to critical sensitive organs such as the brain, eye, spinal cord, lung, heart, liver, bowel and kidneys.

The design and construction of both facilities is expected to begin almost simultaneously. The first treatment rooms in Arizona are expected to open by early 2016, and the remaining rooms will be open by 2017. During the building phase of each project, 500 construction jobs will be created. The Arizona center is expected to employ more than 130 staff members, which will include more than 13 physicians and 9 Ph.D. physicists.

Funding for the projects is allocated from Mayo's capital budget and benefactor support.