UK’s latest proton beam therapy centre marks milestone for cancer care

Third Rutherford Cancer Centre opens in Northumberland, providing state-of-the-art proton beam therapy

The Rutherford Cancer Centre North East is one of four new facilities in the country to offer proton beam therapy treatment

The opening of the UK’s latest high-energy proton beam therapy centre marks a significant moment in the provision of advanced cancer services.

The opening of the Rutherford Cancer Centre at Bomarsund, Northumberland, signals a step change in the UK’s proton beam therapy capability.

Little more than a year ago, there were no facilities operational and no alternative but to send patients to the USA or Europe for costly and disruptive treatment.

But the arrival of three Rutherford proton beam therapy centres in Wales, Berkshire, and now Northumberland; plus an NHS facility in Manchester, means the landscape for advanced cancer care has been transformed.

The first prospective cohort of patients at the Rutherford Cancer Centre North East are already undergoing assessment for treatment.

Proton beam therapy is a type of radiotherapy used in cancer treatment, delivering heavily-charged protons in a more-targeted manner to reduce damage to peripheral tissue and organs. It can also help to reduce unwelcome side effects.

Mike Moran, chief executive of Proton Partners International, which operates the Rutherford Cancer Centres, said: “The opening of the proton beam therapy suite at our North East centre is an exciting milestone in the development of high-energy proton beam facilities in this country.

Proton beam therapy treatment has only just become available in the UK

“Historically, the UK has lagged behind leading countries in the provision of this form of cancer treatment, but now a complementary mix of private and public facilities are offering patients access to the most-advanced technology that can enhance patient outcomes.”

The Rutherford Cancer Centre North East is part of a nationwide network of Rutherford facilities, providing state-of-the-art cancer services including imaging, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and proton beam therapy.

Chris Land, centre manager at the Rutherford Cancer Centre North East, said: “This is a landmark moment in the development of cancer care in the North East and it is a significant step in transforming the way certain types of cancer are treated.

“While proton beam therapy is not a panacea, it has been proven to be particularly effective in the treatment of hard-to-reach tumours and child patients as it reduces damage to surrounding healthy tissue.”

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