HAMPTON — Hampton University has started hiring employees for its Proton Therapy Institute, and now it has $380,000 extra to do so.
The Department of Health and Human Services awarded HU a grant to staff the institute, which is set to open in August. The 98,000-square-foot center is expected to treat more than 2,000 patients per year with prostate, breast, lung and pediatric cancers.
The grant will help HU fund the center’s 127 staff positions including those of nurses, physicists, and X-ray technicians, said Bill Thomas, associate vice president of government affairs.
“We are so appreciative of Congressman Bobby Scott’s legislative support of this (federal) grant and the good that it will do in creating and sustaining high-level jobs in the city of Hampton,” he said in a statement.
The $225 million cancer treatment center is located off Magruder Boulevard in Hampton. According to HU, it will be the largest free-standing proton therapy facility in the world. There are about five operating nationally and about a dozen worldwide.
Proton therapy is one of the most precise forms of cancer treatment available. The Proton Therapy Institute will use a cyclotron for treatments, which is a 200-ton machine that spins subatomic particles to two-thirds the speed of light. That creates a proton beam, which is used to target tumors.