SAN DIEGO -- The $43.9 million Scripps Radiation Therapy Center, which officially opened its doors today, contains state-of-the-art equipment designed to reduce the length of a patient's radiation treatment from around a half-hour to five minutes.

“A treatment in this facility which would usually take 45 minutes or an hour can take 5 minutes or less,” said Chris Van Gorder, president and CEO of Scripps Health.

According to Scripps Health, doctors at the 45,000-square-foot facility on John Jay Hopkins Drive will also be able to focus the radiation dose with more precision, limiting damage to surrounding tissue.

The new Radiation Treatment Center is also located above unground, which is unusual for a radiation facility, “usually radiation oncology centers are built in basements because of the amazing amount of concrete it takes to surround the machines,” said Van Gordor.

The American Society for Therapeutic Radiation and Oncology estimates that nearly two-thirds of all cancer patients will receive radiation therapy as part of their treatment.

The center, which combines radiation oncology units that had been at Scripps Green Hospital and Scripps Memorial Hospital, has the capacity to handle 1,200 patients every year, according to Scripps Health.

"Combining our two outstanding programs under one roof with the best available technology allows us to make the best use of our staff resources and equipment,'' said Van Gorder. "It will also help with standardizing our care protocols and IT systems, in keeping with health care reform efforts.''

An open house for the public will be held on Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with health screenings and presentations by physicians.