We are all excited about the new high energy proton beam therapy centre currently under construction at The Christie, and due to open in 2018. The centre, which will be the first of its kind in the UK, has been designed to include a research room so that we can use the proton beam not only to deliver lifesaving treatment to patients, but to carry out groundbreaking research.
Thanks to our fantastic supporters, the Christie charity has raised £5.6 million for the proportional cost of the dedicated research room and the state-of-the-art equipment needed so that we can make the most of this amazing new facility - and improve outcomes for even more patients.
Every single piece of research we carry out in our new proton research room will help us improve treatment for our patients.
One of our first pieces of research will be to investigate how we can deliver proton beam therapy more precisely and efficiently. This means even better treatments for patients and fewer side effects.
With the equipment in place, we’ll be able to better understand how protons interact, where they deposit their dose and how we can localise their damage to the tumour.
With help from our supporters we’ve brought together a team of the best research scientists, engineers and clinicians, so we can start using techniques from other spheres for the treatment of cancer. Each specialist brings an understanding of their part of the cancer jigsaw. The challenge now is to pull together everything we know to find new treatments that will save lives.
The research could help us save the lives of patients like Karen.
Proton beam therapy can improve outcomes for patients, many of whom are children, as it can target the tumour while minimising the damage to the healthy tissue that surrounds it. This specialist form of radiotherapy can also be lifesaving for adult patients like Karen Farrow (pictured), who travelled to Switzerland in 2012 for treatment of a tumour that had grown dangerously close to her brain stem and so could not be treated with conventional therapies.
I was so lucky to receive proton beam therapy treatment and am delighted that it’s now coming to Manchester, where The Christie’s incredible research room can ensure even better outcomes for the generations to come.
In the following video, Professor Nick Slevin and parents Tracey and Phil Payton discuss the importance of fundraising for proton beam therapy research at The Christie.
Thank you to everyone who donated to the proton beam research room appeal.