UT SOUTHWESTERN and a Texas consortium plans to establish the country’s first National Center for Heavy Ion Radiation Therapy, targeted for completion in 2021. NCI awarded UT Southwestern a $1 million planning grant to develop research proposals for the center.The consortium consists of researchers from UT Southwestern, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Texas A&M University, Prairie View A&M University, Baylor College of Medicine, The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, The UT Medical Branch at Galveston, and NASA, in addition to national and international collaborators. Hak Choy, chair and professor of Radiation Oncology at UT Southwestern, is principal investigator for the award. Eight operational heavy ion radiation therapy centers exist in Japan, Germany, Italy and China. Ten additional centers are in development, according to UT Southwestern. Building costs for the center are estimated at $200 million to $250 million, and would need a combination of federal, state, and private funding for construction and ongoing research.