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Watch Now: ‘Pete’ Arrives at Miami Cancer Institute

‘Pete,’ a 220-ton cyclotron and the cornerstone of the only proton therapy center [1]in South Florida, has arrived at Miami Cancer Institute [2]. The cyclotron began its 4,700-mile transatlantic journey from Belgium nearly two weeks ago. From its arrival at berth 19 at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, the cyclotron was transported by a 64-wheel flatbed trailer operated by two drivers, who made the overnight drive to Miami.


(A 140-ton gantry crane lifts the cyclotron into its permanent home at Miami Cancer Institute—the $430 million, state-of-the-art new facility housed on the campus of Baptist Hospital [3]of Miami.)

Proton therapy destroys cancer cells with highly targeted doses of radiation while avoiding healthy tissue and minimizing side effects, making it particularly effective in treating childhood cancers and adult cancers of the brain, liver and lung, as well as certain left-sided breast cancers and prostate cancers. Proton therapy treatment will be available at Miami Cancer Institute beginning in 2017.

“The arrival of the cyclotron signifies the beginning of the most sophisticated cancer treatment technology in the history of our organization,” said Brian E. Keeley, president and CEO of Baptist Health South Florida. “This historic milestone is not just one for Baptist Health to celebrate, but one for our entire community as we come together in the fight against cancer.”

Miami Cancer Institute will have the only proton therapy facility in South Florida and will be a readily accessible option for cancer patients from the Caribbean and Latin America. “The moment the proton therapy unit arrives and becomes operational, the way we care for patients in South Florida changes,” said Michael J. Zinner, M.D., founding CEO & executive medical director of Miami Cancer Institute. “Miami Cancer Institute will be among the very few facilities worldwide to provide every available radiation therapy technology all in one location.”

Several proton therapy patients were in attendance, and all agreed that having this treatment option close to home would make it easier on families as they battle the disease.

“This is the most cutting-edge proton therapy technology available,” said Minesh Mehta, M.D., deputy director of the Miami Cancer Institute and chief of radiation oncology. “It uses a pencil-beam approach, allowing us to target more complicated tumors and, for most situations, further decreases radiation exposure to normal tissues in comparison to older proton techniques.”

The Baptist Health South Florida News Team was there to capture this historic milestone for the Miami Cancer Institute. Watch it now.