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OKLAHOMA CITY-Construction has begun on the first commercial proton cancer treatment center. The $95-million Oklahoma ProCure Treatment Center is being developed by ProCure Treatment Centers and IBA Group from Belgium.

Although proton cancer treatment centers exist in conjunction with medical teaching institutions, the Oklahoma ProCure Treatment Center is the first commercial endeavor outside a university setting. The two-story building is situated on four acres at the junction of Memorial Road and MacArthur Boulevard in the northwest sector. It will be completed in mid-2008 and up and running by summer 2009. Radiation Medicine Associates and Radiation Oncology Associates will operate the facility.

John Henderson, COO with Boston-based ProCure, says the Oklahoma center is a prototype. “Our plan is to build many more of these around the country, to provide proton facilities as part of cancer care,” he adds. To do so, ProCure is forming relationships with private-practice physicians and community hospitals to roll out the initiative.

Henderson tells GlobeSt.com that developing a project is vastly different from pulling together a standard medical building. “This is a manufacturing building in some respects,” he says. “It’s a building that contains very sophisticated, highly calibrated heavy equipment for particle therapy radiation treatment.” As a result, he says, requirements call for a heavy concrete structure and 6-foot to 9-foot thick walls.

Henderson says a second center is on the drawing board, but he can’t discuss it as yet, except to say ground will break sometime this year. Furthermore, he says “we’ve been having multiple conversations with other partners, two of which are very serious with others.”

Tsoi/Kobus & Associates Inc. of Boston is the project architect. Houston-based Linbeck is the general contractor. Fortis SA/NV and KBC Group NV, both headquartered in Belgium, provided senior debt and mezzanine financing.

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