McCarthy to Lift 300,000 Pound Accelerator into Place for the New Mercy Proton Therapy Center


One year after breaking ground on the Mercy Proton Therapy Center, its centerpiece, the 300,000-pound cyclotron accelerator, will be carefully positioned into place by McCarthy Building Companies.

Once it is in place, the accelerator unit will be secured inside a three-story high, 60-foot by 60-foot “vault” treatment room featuring concrete walls ranging from six feet to eight and a half feet thick located within the new 17,000-square-foot, three-story addition to the Pratt Cancer Center. Because being as little as one inch off in thickness would result in less radiation shielding and create an unsafe environment for Mercy caregivers and patients, the center was designed and built with extreme precision, with tolerances less than three-quarters-inch wall-to-wall and one-inch floor-to-ceiling.

Currently, there are only 37 proton centers in the United States. Proton therapy, which has fewer side effects than traditional cancer treatments and can potentially be used for many types of cancer, uses high-energy beams of protons to precisely deliver radiation to a tumor, reducing or eliminating unwanted radiation exposure to surrounding, healthy tissue. Mercy will make this option available for patients pursuing both research options and traditional clinical care when the center opens Summer 2022.

The accelerator journeyed across seven states and will arrive to a celebration and opportunity for leaders to make their mark by signing the magnet before a 350-ton crane places the equipment through an opening in the roof of the vault and its 7-foot, 6-inch thick concrete lid.

Mercy, Mevion and McCarthy leaders will be on hand to watch the milestone placement at 11:30 a.m., on Saturday, July 17th. The location is the David C. Pratt Cancer Center at Mercy Hospital St. Louis, 607 S. New Ballas Rd., in Creve Coeur

Media are asked to arrive early for parking and set up. Parking will be available in the Cancer Center parking lot and the nearby garage. Some internal roads will be blocked for the delivery.)

Mercy, named one of the top five large U.S. health systems for four consecutive years by IBM Watson Health, serves millions annually. Mercy is one of the nation’s most highly integrated, multi-state health care systems, including more than 40 acute care, managed and specialty (heart, children’s, orthopedic and rehab) hospitals, convenient urgent care locations, imaging centers and pharmacies. Mercy has 900 physician practices and outpatient facilities, more than 4,000 Mercy Clinic physicians and advanced practitioners and 40,000-plus co-workers serving patients and families across Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has clinics, outpatient services and outreach ministries in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. In addition, Mercy’s IT division, Mercy Technology Services, and Mercy Virtual commercially serve providers and patients from coast to coast.

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