Advanced radiotherapy centers approved for London and Manchester

Advanced radiotherapy centers approved for London and ManchesterThe setting up of advanced radiotherapy centers have been approved for Manchester and London, a move that will bring the proton beam therapy to the UK for the first time.

The project to build the "cutting-edge" radiotherapy centres in the cities will allow the University College London Hospital (UCLH) and The Christie to offer the proton beam therapy, which is a pioneering treatment that is especially effective for treating childhood cancer.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said that the new centers will be a vital addition to the UK's health care system. There were plans to also include the University Hospitals Birmingham in the project but the plans were dropped in December.

At present, due to the non availability of the treatment in the UK, the patients have to travel to Switzerland or the US for treatment.

Dr Ed Smith, of the Christie said, "With X-rays, when you are treating a patient, they can go through the tumour and affect the normal tissues. With proton beam therapy, you can stop the beam in the tumour itself, so you're sparing much more of the normal tissue."

UCLH's chief executive Sir Robert Naylor said that the centres will be significant for hundreds ofpatietns in the UK, that includes children and teenagers. He also said that it presents an opportunity to the NHS to become a leader in paediatric radiotherapy and also take lead internationally in providng treatment for many complex adult cancers.

The treatment is particularly efficient against complex childhood cancers and adult brain, neck and head cancers, according to experts.

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