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With a large pair of scissors and an even larger grin, ProCure Chairman and President John Cameron cut the ribbon on the company’s training and development center in downtown Bloomington.
ProCure Training and Development Center is the first facility in the world to offer proton therapy training. Proton therapy is available in only five U.S. cities, including the Midwest Proton Radiotherapy Institute on Bloomington’s Indiana University campus.
At Thursday’s ceremony, Cameron said the company’s mission is to increase the availability of proton therapy. The company is working on two new centers where proton therapy will be offered.
Niek Schreuder, ProCure’s senior vice president of technology and medical physics, said he’d seen several patients when he worked at MPRI who couldn’t be helped by other treatments.
“We are giving people hope,” he said.
Schreuder said on-the-job training can be burdensome to a company. After all, if a room is being used for training, no patients can be treated in that room.
He said ProCure has recently signed a memorandum with Ivy Tech to offer its students an opportunity to train at the center. And while the training focus will be on providing the treatment, there also will be an emphasis on interpersonal care.
State Rep. Peggy Welch said it is important that the staff be trained on high touch as well as high tech. She said staff from outside Indiana will benefit from learning good, strong Midwestern values.
Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan described the facility as “20,000 square feet of opportunity.”
Hadley Ford, director and CEO of ProCure Treatment Centers, agreed that the focus will be on curing, with quality care.
“It really is about the patient,” Ford said.
The training facility has two treatment rooms, as well as lecture rooms, a treatment planning area, conference room and offices for staff and visitors. In a tour of the facility, a CT scanner is set up to show how patients are first scanned. From the computerized tomography scan, the information is passed to a treatment planning center. Using a 3-D representation of the patient, the dosimetrist — a member of the radiation oncology team — determines the best way to treat the tumor. The tumor and vital organs are traced on a computer screen to determine how best to direct proton beams.
The center also has two treatment rooms, the inclined-beam room and the gantry room. The gantry is smaller than one used for treatment, but allows staff to train on its use. The gantry looks like a giant hamster wheel that rotates 360 degrees around the patient.
The inclined-beam room simulates the beams, which can be used horizontally and 60 degrees inclined from horizontal.
Radiation therapist John Smith showed how the patient can be moved around to better direct the beams for treatment based on the plan established for the patient. “At this point, we’re actually executing that plan,” Smith said.
With the additional 25 jobs that ProCure adds, and the influx of visitors who will be training at the downtown center, the company will provide the city with an economic boost.
U.S. Rep. Baron Hill said the recent news about the closing of GE shows that old manufacturing jobs are slipping away. Hill said he emphasized to economic development directors in the state that life sciences jobs are the way to go.
“This is a great and happy day,” Hill said.