A rare type of cancer treatment is coming to San Diego.
Scripps Health broke ground Thursday afternoon for San Diego's first proton-therapy center.
Proton therapy is one of the newest cancer treatments. Other cancer treatments, like radiation, can damage outside tissues while trying to shrink tumors, but researchers say proton therapy targets tumors more effectively and minimizes harm to other tissue.
Scripps Health president and CEO Chris VanGorder said that there is a serious need for a center like this in San Diego.
"We have patients who want this therapy who have to travel out of this area -- or in many cases out of this state -- to receive the treatment," VanGorder said. "This is bringing again one more tool in the fight against cancer."
The Scripps Proton Therapy Center, which is set to open in spring 2013, will cost $185 million and will be only the seventh of its kind in the U.S.
VanGorder said Scripps is planning on treating up to 2,400 patients a year.