Manchester's Christie Hospital to begin groundbreaking proton beam cancer treatment

Hundreds of cancer patients will benefit from a groundbreaking radiotherapy treatment at Manchester’s Christie Hospital which was one of two sites to share a proton-beam therapy investment announced by the Coalition Government.

It is a type of radiotherapy that uses a high-energy beam of particles to destroy cancer cells. Experts say it is particularly useful for tackling complex childhood cancers – increasing success rates and reducing side-effects. 

Touring the new facilities today, Withington's former MP John Leech - who lobbied ministers on the issue for half a decade - said:

"The Christie Hospital is internationally recognised for its groundbreaking work in tackling cancer and this is a huge step forward in their mission to save lives.

"I want to thank and congratulate The Christie’s staff and volunteers for all the incredible work they do day in, day out - they really are local heroes.

"This life-changing treatment is vital to ensuring our cancer facilities remain the best in the world and will relieve the untold pressure that sending patients, particularly children, abroad has been having."

The proton beam therapy targets cancerous growths more effectively without damaging the healthy tissue surrounding the tumour. Experts claim the new treatment is particularly effective at treating cancer in children as it can target smaller areas of tissue than previous therapies.

In addition to resulting in better recovery rates, the new treatment will result in fewer side effects.

The Withington-based hospital was one of two sites to share the £250m investment announced by the Coalition Government in 2012 to build facilities for the proton-beam therapy.

The historic treatment will mean more than 1,500 patients will be treated here in the UK, rather than having to go abroad.

The other health trust awarded a share in the funding is the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. 

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