JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Mayo Clinic announced Tuesday morning it has plans to build a carbon ion therapy treatment facility at its Jacksonville campus in partnership with Hitachi, Ltd.
The carbon ion treatment center will be part of Mayo Clinic’s $233 million integrated oncology facility which was announced earlier this year. The facility, a first of its kind in North America, will include chemotherapy, standard radiation, proton beam therapy and carbon ion therapy.
Carbon ion therapy was discovered in the United States in the 1970s, but there are currently no carbon ion therapy treatment centers in North America. Right now, the technology is only available at select centers in Asia and Europe.
“Carbon ion therapy belongs to a family of particle therapies that include protons, helium and other potential ions. Carbon ions have a mass that is 12 times the weight of proton ions and they have the potential to be much more destructive to cancer cells and tumors than protons alone,” said CEO of Mayo Clinic in Florida Kent Thielen, M.D.
President and CEO of Mayo Clinic, Gianrico Farrugia M.D. says this type of therapy has “tremendous potential” for people who don’t respond well to other treatments.
Gov. Ron DeSantis couldn’t make it to Tuesday’s announcement but issued a statement:
“I would like to congratulate Mayo Clinic and Hitachi on this major investment that will better serve Florida’s cancer patients who need complex care. I look forward to the groundbreaking research that will come from this new treatment facility and the discoveries that will be made here through this important collaboration.”
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry attended Tuesday morning’s announcement at Mayo Clinic.
“We are one of three U.S. cities that can claim the prestigious Mayo Clinic name and their presence here is growing. With more than $600 million in construction ongoing or planned over the next few years," Curry said. “This campus employs more than 6500 personnel and brings in more than 140,000 unique patients each year for more than 120 countries, so I would just like to personally say thank you first of all for what you do and taking care of people but also in the economic impact that it has on our city and the surrounding area.”
Patients who have found success in new and innovative cancer treatments understand the significance of new and alternative treatment options. Tanis Milicevic battled non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma for 11 years before being the first Mayo Clinic patient to undergo CAR T-cell therapy a year and a half ago.
“In my case, the first treatment that I received it didn’t work,” said Milicevic. “They weren’t the right things for me and then, at last, they found the right treatment. I know this will be the right treatment for many other people."
Milicevic believes this new form of therapy will be life-changing.
At this point, carbon ion therapy is not FDA approved. Working with Hitachi, Mayo clinic will undertake a robust scientific evaluation and analysis of the capability of this technology and identify which cancers would be most appropriate for treatment and work to get FDA approval.
Proton Beam therapy will be available at Mayo Clinic’s Jacksonville campus in 2025; carbon ion therapy is anticipated to be available after that time.