The provision of advanced cancer treatment in the South of England passed a key milestone in Reading with the arrival of the first high-energy proton beam therapy system in the region.
Proton beam therapy – particularly effective in tackling hard to reach tumours and treating children without damaging healthy tissue – is to be available at the Rutherford Cancer Centre Thames Valley.
The core elements of the proton beam therapy system – a 52-ton cyclotron and gantry – were lowered into place today at the £30 million Rutherford Cancer Centre at Thames Valley Science Park.
The system is being installed by IBA (Ion Beam Applications S.A.), the leading international provider of proton therapy solutions. The Proteus ONE solution being installed at the Rutherford is the most advanced compact system available for adaptive treatment.
The Rutherford Cancer Centre Thames Valley will be equipped to treat 500 patients a year.
Mike Moran, chief executive officer of Proton Partners International, which is creating a network of Rutherford Cancer Centres, said: “It’s wonderful to see another of our centres move closer to providing proton beam therapy treatment here in the UK. The Rutherford Cancer Centre Thames Valley is particularly exciting. Its close proximity to London and Heathrow allows for it to become a hub for patients in the South of England or those travelling to the UK for treatment.
“While we know that proton therapy is not a panacea for all cancers, we have already seen the hugely positive results it can bring to patients at our centre in South Wales, and I look forward to us being able to offer that treatment across the UK.”
Olivier Legrain, CEO of IBA, said: “We are delighted to be working with Proton Partners International to bring high energy proton beam therapy to the UK. We are extremely proud of the Proteus ONE solution, which is the industry’s only truly compact Image Guided Intensity Modulated Proton Therapy (IG-IMPT) solution. Having completed the installation of the Proteus ONE solution in less than 12 months at the Rutherford Cancer Centre South Wales, we are confident that we will be able to do so again in Reading, giving residents of Thames Valley and beyond access to the latest cancer technology in due course.”
Professor Richard Ellis, director of health partnerships at the University of Reading, commented: “The delivery and installation of the Proteus ONE is an important milestone in bringing proton beam therapy to patients in the Thames Valley. Once the proton beam therapy facility becomes operational, patients from across the region will have an opportunity to save considerable travel by being treated closer to home than hitherto – benefitting their wellbeing and also that of their families. Today’s events are also highly significant to the University of Reading’s development of, and continuing investment in, the Thames Valley Science Park.”
PPI is currently building Rutherford Cancer Centres in Northumberland and Liverpool, as well as the Thames Valley centre in Reading, and plans to build eight across the UK to provide a treatment centre within 90 minutes of 75% of the UK population.
The Rutherford Cancer Centre Thames Valley is due to open its doors later this month for treatments such as radiotherapy, with the first proton beam therapy patient expected to be treated next year.