A 125-ton medical machine on way to Cincy Children’s Liberty Campus

A more than 125-ton piece of cancer-fighting equipment has journeyed from Germany, arrived by ship in Baltimore and is now making its way to its final destination: Liberty Twp.

The first piece of the cyclotron — an accelerator manufactured by Varian Inc. — that will power proton laser beams to fight pediatric cancers is expected to arrive Wednesday, July 29, at Cincinnati Children’s Liberty Campus on Yankee Road.

A second piece is also expected to arrive on the back of a special multi-axle trailer later Wednesday with installation work following on Thursday, said Abram Gordon, the administrative executive director of the proton therapy center opening at the Liberty Campus.

Already on site is an 800-ton crane that will lower the medical equipment into place.

Cincinnati Children’s announced in 2013 plans to build an approximately $120 million proton therapy center in Butler County, which it believes could be one of the first proton centers owned by a children’s hospital in the world, Gordon said. Construction is on pace for a winter 2016-2017 opening.

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“It will be a destination for people,” Gordon said.

The proton center was one of two construction projects announced in 2013 at the Liberty Campus, which can be seen from Interstate 75. An approximately $48 million expansion of the pediatric hospital to add another inpatient floor and make other renovations will be completed in August.

Proton therapy is a form of radiation used to treat certain types of cancers and lymphomas. One advantage over traditional forms of radiotherapy is its ability to deliver radiation to a tumor with more precision, which helps avoid exposure to the surrounding healthy tissue, reducing long-term side effects, according to Cincinnati Children’s.

Once open, the 80,000-square-foot proton center in Butler County will have two clinical treatment rooms, one for pediatrics and one for adults to be offered in partnership with hospital network UC Health. A third treatment area will be used for research, according to Cincinnati Children’s.

Because Cincinnati Children’s cancer treatment programs already attract patients nationally and internationally, Gordon expects some of the same patients that travel to Children’s already might also be treated at the proton center. The adult services will have a large regional draw reaching Indianapolis, Ind., Lexington, Ky., and elsewhere, he said. And the research to take place at the center is also significant, he said.

“We see ourselves helping push technology forward to better treat and find other ways that are better to treat for cancer,” he said.

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