$72M cancer therapy center planned for Wallingford set for hearing

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WALLINGFORD — Yale-New Haven Health and Hartford HealthCare are moving forward with plans to build a $72 million proton cancer therapy center at 932 Northrop Road.

A public hearing on the two medical networks’ application is set for Nov. 18, according to public filings with the state Office of Health Strategy. If approved, the Connecticut Proton Therapy Center will be the first proton treatment center in the state. 

The  new partnership, announced a year ago, includes Georgia-based Proton International which will provide equipment and operate the 24,000 square foot center. Employees will come from both hospital networks and new employees.

The therapy, used in other states, replaces radiation with protons, or subatomic particles that carry a positive charge to kill cancer cells. 

Proponents say the benefit to patients is that unlike traditional radiation which can damage surrounding tissue, proton therapy is targeted to the affected cells. Patients have typically had to drive out of state to receive such treatments, placing a hardship on families with children in need of care. 

In its application for a Certificate of Need, hospital representatives cited American Cancer Society studies that show Connecticut in the top 10 states for the number of cancer cases. The Connecticut Proton Therapy Center expects to treat more than 400 patients a year at the Wallingford location.  Another proton therapy center was recently proposed in Danbury. 

Town officials support the new treatment center for the number of potential jobs and tax revenue. The site was chosen for its central location in the state and access to major highways and was considered a win for the town. 

The telephone hearing will include prefiled testimony from radiation health care specialists at Yale and Hartford HealthCare. It will also hear testimony from representatives of Proton International and the University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute.  

The proposed location is a 12-acre site next to the Courtyard by Marriott on the Interstate 91 side of Northrop Road,  Wallingford Business Specialist Tim Ryan said last year after the site was selected. 

“We proposed several sites and the site selectors went back to the client,” Ryan said. “It’s a weeding out process, a narrowing process. We were competing with other towns.”

Proton International has a sales agreement for the parcel, contingent upon local approvals, Ryan said. The plan goes before local regulators next week for a parking variance. 

mgodin@record-journal.com203-317-2255Twitter: @Cconnbiz