BALTIMORE (WJZ)— A breakthrough for cancer treatment in Maryland. That’s what medical leaders are calling the University of Maryland’s new proton treatment center in West Baltimore.

Monique Griego was there for the groundbreaking.

Shovels are digging up hope for cancer patients.

“It represents victory. It represents courage. It represents healing. It represents life,” said Pat Tierney, cancer survivor.

Tierney was there as Governor Martin O’Malley and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake helped the University of Maryland kick off the construction of its soon-to-be proton treatment center.

“This is very exciting because it’s a unique and new technology,” said Dr. E. Albert Reece, University of Maryland Dean of Medicine.

The center, which will fill empty lots off West Baltimore Street, will focus on proton therapy, an advanced technology that allows patients to receive doses of radiation directly to their tumors without damaging the surrounding tissue or vital organs.

“There’s nothing greater for a patient than the hope that they have knowing they have every available option to fight their cancer,” said Dr. William Regine, Radiation & Oncology.

Once it’s up and running this new center will be one of only 12 places in the nation offering this type of treatment.

“We expect people to be coming here from all over the country for this very specialized treatment,” said Reece.

The proton center will be an expansion of the university’s BioPark.

And it’s expected to bring hundreds of temporary construction jobs and eventually permanent positions to the city.

“The general economic activity will be significant,” Reece said.

But for cancer survivors like Tierney, the center offers something even more valuable.

“I am devoted to the University of Maryland and the fact that I am living and living well today because of them,” Tierney said.

The treatment center is expected to open its doors to patients in December 2014.


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