Decades after adoption in Asia, and following several false starts, carbon-ion cancer therapy may finally be coming to the US. In May, Mayo Clinic broke ground in Jacksonville, Florida, on a facility that will produce beams of carbon ions to treat cancer tumors.

The new center, which will also offer proton and conventional x-ray therapies, is expected to treat its first patients with carbon-ion beams in 2027, says Chris Beltran, chair of Mayo’s division of medical physics. Mayo will provide the estimated $233 million for the facility, and it has contracted Hitachi to build the synchrotron.

When the Jacksonville center opens, the US will have completed a circle that began with pioneering clinical trials in the 1970s at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory’s Bevalac heavy-ion synchrotron. Led by Joseph Castro of the University of California, San Francisco, those trials established the safety and biomedical activity of carbon beams. Yet that work ended...

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