December 2010 Proton-beam-1
Charity supports Trust’s bid to become a state-of-the-art cancer Proton Beam Therapy centre

UCLH is one step closer to becoming one of only two Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) centres in the UK, with the help of a £250,000 grant from UCLH Charity. PBT, a new and advanced form of radiotherapy, targets tumours far more accurately than conventional methods and becoming a PBT centre would enhance the Trust’s international profile in cancer services and provide significant research benefits.

“One of the problems of treating cancer with radiotherapy is that, while the treatment can destroy the cancer, it can also destroy healthy cells” explains Sam Higginson, Director of Strategic Development. “This becomes even more of an issue when treating cancers that lie very close to critical structures such as the brain or spinal cord.

Proton-beam-2

“PBT, which uses protons (small parts of atoms) rather than high-energy X-rays, is a significant advance. It allows a more targeted dose of radiotherapy and this means that higher doses can be used for particularly resistant cancers. But this treatment is not currently available in the UK and UCLH Charity has helped patients to access this service overseas.”

UCLH teamed up with UCL Partners, the Academic Health Service Partnership, to submit its bid to the Department of Health in March 2010.

In September 2010 it heard that UCLH and the Christie Hospital in Manchester had beaten five other trusts to be awarded ‘primary delivery site’ status. A final decision is expected from the Treasury in the New Year.