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VOL. 41 | NO. 41 | Friday, October 13, 2017

Provision brings proton cancer therapy to Franklin

By Susan T. Leathers

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A cyclotron is delivered this summer to Provision CARES Proton Cancer Therapy Center Nashville, which is now under construction in Franklin.

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Knoxville-based Provision Healthcare, LLC took a significant step toward completion of its newest proton cancer therapy center recently when it took delivery of a key component of the ProNova SC360, the latest advancement in proton therapy.

It took personnel from Tokyo-based Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Ltd., Memphis-based Barnhart Crane & Rigging Co. and Maryville-headquartered ProNova Solutions, LLC to unload the cyclotron and began the arduous task of rigging and integrating it with other SC360 components already in place at the Provision CARES Proton Cancer Therapy Center Nashville now under construction in Franklin.

The new center is being built on an 11.6-acre parcel near Williamson Medical Center on Carothers Parkway. It should be ready for occupancy in December with its first patients being treated in May or early June 2018, Provision Healthcare founder and CEO Terry Douglass says.

Proton therapy treats tumors by directing radiation into the tumor site destroying cancerous cells. Unlike traditional radiation treatments, physicians can control the dose and range of protons, reducing damage to nearby healthy tissue. It also limits negative side effects.

Originally named the Scott Hamilton CARES Proton Cancer Therapy Center, the 1984 Olympic figure skating champion and longtime cancer patient advocate who lives in Franklin ultimately turned down the offer.

Though humbled by the gesture, Hamilton, a Provision Healthcare board member, says he quickly realized he needed to keep his full attention focused on the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation, the national non-profit organization founded in 2015.

Two key leadership positions for the new proton therapy center and the planned Provision CARES Cancer Treatment Center Nashville have been filled, Douglass adds.

Retired U.S. Army medical commander John Casey, Ph.D., will lead the centers’ Nashville operations as president. Tara Mullaney has been named vice president-Patient CARES/community awareness.

The non-profit Provision CARES Center for Proton Therapy Nashville will follow the successful model established in 2014 when the Provision CARES Center for Proton Therapy Knoxville opened its doors. The Knoxville center treats up to 1,500 patients annually and is open to all credentialed physicians and health systems in the region.

Of the 63 existing proton therapy centers in the world, 26 are in the U.S. and two are in Tennessee – Provision’s non-profit center in Knoxville and the St. Jude Red Frog Events Proton Therapy Center in Memphis. Provision’s new Franklin center is one of 12 proton centers under construction or under development.

Casey and Mullaney are “good fits” and share Provision’s vision of and for cancer care, Douglass points out.

Before retiring from active service to relocate to Middle Tennessee, Casey served as commander for the 212th Combat Support Hospital in Miesau, Germany; the COO for Task Force Medical in Bagram, Afghanistan, and deputy surgeon for United States Army Africa in Vicenza, Italy.

Casey, who holds a Ph.D. in strategic management and dual Master of Science degrees in healthcare administration and strategic intelligence, was awarded the Order of Military Medical Merit for his contributions to emergency management and his response to bioterrorism.

As vice-president, Mullaney’s responsibilities include overseeing Provision’s “Culture of Care” and overall patient experience. She is also charged with generating awareness of proton therapy in and beyond the Middle Tennessee area.

Mullaney came to Provision from Community Health Systems, where she was senior director of strategic development and created CHS’s Partners in Care program. Mullaney will participate in and with civic and charitable organizations to bring attention to and raise dollars toward the fight against cancer in Middle Tennessee.

Provision has two for-profit proton therapy centers in development, one in San Antonio and another in Denver. A third non-profit center is planned in New Orleans, Douglass says. Four Provision proton centers are also in development in China.

Douglass founded Provision, a leader in proton therapy development, in 2005 with the purpose of developing innovative healthcare solutions focused on improving patient care and clinical outcomes and developing support for research, educational, and charitable causes.

In addition to Provision Healthcare, he is chairman of the Provision Center for Proton Therapy, LLC; Provision Trust, Inc.; Provision Foundation, Inc.; and founder and CEO of ProNova Solutions, LLC.

Knoxville-based Provision Solutions helps develop stand-alone proton therapy centers around the globe. Maryville-based ProNova develops lower-cost, smaller, lighter and more energy efficient proton therapy systems, most recently the ProNova SC360SR.

The Provision CARES Foundation, founded in 2012 as the Provision Cares Foundation, exclusively supports East Tennessee cancer patients and their families.

Hamilton’s CARES Foundation was an outgrowth of the Scott Hamilton CARES Initiative he formed with the Cleveland (Ohio) Clinic following his own 1997 testicular cancer diagnosis. CARES is an acronym for Cancer Alliances for Research, Education and Survivorship.

After joining the Provision board, Hamilton helped the Provision Cares Foundation raise funds. When Hamilton formed his own foundation, the Provision non-profit rebranded as the Precision CARES Foundation. The two share the same vision and many of the same alliances, though on decidedly different scales.

“We have very common objectives,” Douglass acknowledges.

Provision has three division presidents, all of whom came to Provision with Douglass from CTI Molecular Imaging, Inc., a public company Douglass founded in 1983.

CTI developed and commercialized positron emission tomography (PET), the technology behind the now common PET/CT scans used in health centers worldwide. CTI also developed the PET cyclotron technology that plays a significant role in proton therapy.

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