Treatment stores

CT promises to rule on Danbury Cancer Center after ‘disheartening’ delay

DANBURY — Developers of a proposed cancer treatment center that would use proton beams to kill tumors with less tissue damage than traditional radiation have grown weary of waiting for state approval of its use, which would be the first in Connecticut.

“Are we discouraged? Yes.” the devs said in a newsletter earlier this month. “Are we defeated? No!”

The developers are referring to plans that received local approvals last summer for an $80 million proton therapy center on the city’s booming west side.

Since that unanimous approval by the Danbury Planning Commission in July, the only thing standing in the way of a 16,000 square foot building on a 3 acre hillside overlooking Danbury Airport is the Danbury Health Strategy Office. the state, which must first issue a “certificate of need. ”

“It has been a test of resolve to go through this exceptionally long and expensive CON process, which for us began in April 2020, almost two years ago,” the developers said.

The Office of Health Strategy told Hearst Connecticut Media on Friday that Danbury Proton would have its answer in a month.

“The Office of Health Strategy expects to act on this application within the next 20 to 35 working days,” said Tina Kumar Hyde, OHS External Affairs Manager. “Due to a number of factors, including navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, limited resources and the complexity of the review, OHS has not yet been able to release anything at this subject. However, we are working as quickly as possible to do so.

Danbury Proton is one of two proton therapy cancer treatment centers under state review. The other proposal is a partnership between two of the state’s major health systems and would use the same technology showcased at Danbury as a more precise way to target cancerous tumors than traditional X-ray beams.

Because streams of tiny proton particles damage healthy tissue less, they are an ideal way to treat head, neck and brain cancers, the National Cancer Institute said.

Much like Danbury Proton, the proton therapy proposal from Hartford HealthCare and Yale New Haven Health in Wallingford awaits a bureaucratic decision from the state’s OHS.

“It has taken (the state) a long time for health treatment which is a much needed option for people with cancer,” Wallingford Mayor William Dickinson said on Friday.

Connecticut does not have proton therapy treatment. The closest locations are in Boston and New York.

Danbury Proton is part of several recent major medical related commercial developments on the west side of Danbury.

In April, Danbury gave the go-ahead for a $36 million rehabilitation hospital on 13 acres in The Reserve residential development.

And in late 2020, the health network that runs Danbury and Norwalk hospitals signed a long-term lease for 220,000 square feet in the Summit office complex.

Drew Crandall, director of community outreach for Danbury Proton, said the developers were encouraged by the widespread support for the project.

“The City of Danbury, the Danbury Delegation to the State Legislature, the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce, the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, and the Danbury community as a whole have provided tremendous and consistent support to this project,” Crandall said on Friday. “Danbury Proton looks forward to OHS’ decision soon.”

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