£250m pledge to bring Proton Beam Therapy to UK for first time

Specialist facilities to open in Manchester and London offering lifeline for cancer patients

One of two new Proton Beam Therapy units will be built at University College Hospital in London

A new cutting-edge radiotherapy treatment will be available in the UK after the Government announced £250m of funding.

The cash will fund the construction of two new specialist facilities in Manchester and London, Public Health Minister, Anna Soubry, has confirmed.

The therapy – Proton Beam Therapy – is a particularly important form of cancer treatment as it targets tumours more precisely with less damage to surrounding tissues. This can improve the quality of life following cancer treatment, reduces side effects, especially for children, and, because the NHS will be able to treat more people, it will save lives.

This is a huge milestone for the NHS. Not only will Proton Beam Therapy help save more lives, it will also ensure that patients experience fewer side-effects and have a better quality of life

Currently, the NHS sends children and adults needing Proton Beam Therapy to the US, but from 2018 it will be offered to up to 1,500 cancer patients at the Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester and at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in London.

Soubry said: “We want the NHS to have the best cancer treatments available in the world. By investing in Proton Beam Therapy facilities, we will be able to treat more patients in the UK and reduce the stress placed on families who have had to travel to the United States to receive this innovative treatment.

“This is a huge milestone for the NHS. Not only will Proton Beam Therapy help save more lives, it will also ensure that patients experience fewer side-effects and have a better quality of life.”

The UK’s national clinical director for specialised services, James Palmer, added: “Today’s announcement is very welcome news and will enable us to move ahead with fully equipping the new facilities in Manchester and London. This is a key milestone in being able to offer this important treatment in the UK.”

And the national clinical lead for Proton Beam Therapy, Adrian Crellin, told BBH : “Compared to standard radiotherapy options, Proton Beam Therapy offers the opportunity to reduce the risks of potential side effects such as growth deformity, loss of hearing and lowered IQ, which is a particular consideration when treating children and young people.”

Compared to standard radiotherapy options, Proton Beam Therapy offers the opportunity to reduce the risks of potential side effects such as growth deformity, loss of hearing and lowered IQ, which is a particular consideration when treating children and young people

Proton Beam Therapy is a precise form of radiotherapy that uses charged particles instead of X-rays to deliver a dose of radiotherapy to patients. It can be a more effective form of treatment than conventional radiotherapy because it directs the radiotherapy more precisely and with minimal damage to surrounding tissue.

Evidence is growing that protons can be effective in treating a number of cancers, in particular children and young people with brain tumours, for whom it appears to produce fewer side effects such as secondary cancers, growth deformity, hearing loss and learning difficulties.

This week’s announcement approves the outline business cases for the two schemes, which confirm the funding commitment and the outputs and authorise the two projects to seek tenders to provide the equipment and works necessary to deliver the facilities.

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