VA and Stanford to Pursue the Nation’s First Hadron Center

Goal for the center will be to treat Veteran and non-Veteran patients using hadron therapy

Stanford Medicine and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS) announced today that they are collaborating to establish the nation’s first Hadron Center in Palo Alto, CA, for the benefit of Veteran and non-Veteran cancer patients who could benefit from hadron therapy.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) maintains a strong academic and research affiliation with Stanford Medicine. This long-standing partnership has enabled the VA Palo Alto Health Care System to offer a provision of medical services unmatched by any other VA health care system in the nation. Now VA and Stanford University are looking to expand and enhance this partnership through new collaborative efforts around the Hadron Center and particle beam therapy for Veteran and non-Veteran patients with cancer.

“We are excited to further expand our current partnership with Stanford Medicine and explore ways to continue taking Veterans health care into the 21st century. The state-of-the-art Hadron Center would not only improve the lives of those affected by cancer, but further demonstrate VA’s ability to partner on pioneering innovation and exceptional health care,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald.

The Hadron Center is a clinical facility, designed to deliver particle beam therapy for the treatment of cancer patients. The most common radiation beams used for cancer treatment are photons and electrons. Although these beams are relatively easy to produce and target to the tumor, they can result in damage to the normal tissue.

Particle beam radiotherapy, on the other hand, uses beams of charged particles such as proton, helium, carbon or other ions to allow more precise targeting anywhere inside the patient’s body, resulting in less damage to normal tissue. In some instances, particle beam therapy is more effective at killing radiation-resistant tumors that are difficult to treat using conventional radiation therapy.

“Through our Precision Health vision, Stanford Medicine is committed to providing more personalized health care that is tailored to each individual,” said Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the Stanford University School of Medicine. “Planning for the Hadron Center embodies this commitment, as we seek to identify optimal ways to offer targeted treatment that both reduces harm and promotes healing.”

“Hadron therapy represents a new way forward in cancer care,” said David Entwistle, president and CEO of Stanford Health Care. “Stanford Medicine is honored to collaborate with the VAPAHCS to bring this therapy to our patients, giving them unprecedented access to the latest cancer science and treatment.”

“Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and Stanford Medicine have long been at the vanguard of pediatric care and scientific discovery to improve the lives of children,” said Christopher Dawes, president and CEO of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and Stanford Children’s Health. “Planning for the Hadron Center, which provides proton and heavier charged particle therapy, is no exception. It will change the way we fight cancer and reduce late toxicity in pediatric and young adult patients.”

This project would be the first of its kind in the nation and serve as an excellent example of public-private collaboration to further research and clinical care, using a cutting-edge cancer therapy. If all goes well, the center is expected to begin treating patients within four years.

The Hadron Center would significantly complement VAPAHCS’s mission to provide the most advanced care for Veterans, by offering those with cancer access to hadron therapy treatments and participation in the latest clinical trials. Judicious and innovative application of particle therapy will result in improved cure rates for cancer.


Print media contact:
Becky Bach
(530) 415-0507

Broadcast media contact:
Margarita Gallardo
(650) 723-7897

VA media contact:
Victoria Glynn

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