Washington, D.C. – Earlier this week the Anchorage Radiation Therapy Center (ARTC) seemed to face an insurmountable roadblock in providing new state-of-the-art cancer treatment services in Alaska to a number of extremely critical patients. As the Radiation Therapy Center prepared to begin a new treatment next week, with medical experts flying in from around the world to assist with a brand new piece of medical equipment known as the Elekta Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion, an unexpected barrier stood in the way. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) sent notice that they may not meet all the requirements needed to use the Gamma Knife.
After urgent e-mails and phone calls to Congressman Don Young, he and his Anchorage staff intervened to clear up the misunderstandings the NRC had with the ARTC. Within days, ARTC has received notice they have been cleared to launch their new treatment as originally planned next week.
“We have to thank Representative Don Young and the rest of his team for coming to our aid with respect to our urgent issue with the new Gamma Knife and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission,” wrote Dr. Steve Settle, Dr. Richard Chung and Kari Disbrow of the Anchorage Radiation Therapy Center & Alaska Gamma-Knife Center. “Thanks to your efforts we now will be able to go-live and treat our cancer patients next week with the new technology.”
“This is the least we can do for such an important group of people who provide a vital service to Alaskans suffering from cancer,” said Congressman Don Young. “Federal regulations shouldn’t be restricting new technologies in our state, agencies should be welcoming them. We see these problems all the time, people misunderstand Alaska and some of the challenges we face here. That’s in part what I do here in Congress, help federal agencies understand our problems and differences. I’m glad the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was able to move quickly on this issue and provide people with the treatment they’ve been long preparing for.”