Proton beam therapy coming to The Christie Hospital, Manchester
Proton Beam therapy is a specialist form of radiotherapy that targets cancers very precisely, increasing success rates and reducing side-effects.
It targets tumours with less damage to surrounding healthy tissue and is particularly appropriate for certain cancers in children who are at risk of lasting damage to organs that are still growing.
It has been offered overseas to NHS patients who are eligible for treatment in England since 2008 in a programme that has to date supported approximately 1,000 patients. From August
2018, the Christie will begin treating patients in Manchester as the UK’s first NHS high energy centre. University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) will follow in summer 2020.
Over the last century, The Christie radiotherapy department has pioneered many advances in radiotherapy. It already leads in advanced radiotherapy, delivering more complex treatments than any other centre in the country. The introduction of proton beam therapy will allow it to continue to make advances in this area and improve patient treatment and care. As well as welcoming PBT to The Christie next year, the hospital is also just one of seven sites in the world to host a pioneering MR-linac radiotherapy machine.
It combines magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanning and tumour-busting radiotherapy treatment in one hi-tech package.
The machine, which will start treating patients next year will precisely locate tumours, tailor the shape of the x-ray beams in real time, and lock on to the tumour during treatment – even when tumour tissue is moving during treatment, for example, in the lung as a patient breathes.