Proton beam research

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.  

The funding for the construction of the treatment rooms in the Proton Therapy Centre is secured, but The Christie charity is fundraising for the proportional cost of including a dedicated research room and the state-of-the-art equipment that will be needed so that we can make the most of this amazing new facility - and improve outcomes for even more patients.    

Proton magnet appeal  

Our Proton magnet appeal is for a vital piece of equipment that is so heavy, it must be installed in the research room before the roof goes on to the building in early 2017.    

The 7 tonne dipole magnet is vital, as it will direct the proton beam where we need it to go. Its super-strong magnetic field will bend the proton beam, which travels at two-thirds the speed of light, into one of two research pods within the research room. This means we’ll be able to maximise the number of experiments we can do with the proton beam.    

Help us buy the magnet and we can find ways to make treatment better.    

Every single piece of research we carry out in our new proton research room will help us improve treatment for our patients. Thanks to the magnet, we’ll give both children and adults even better chances of beating cancer.   

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 magnet 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. 

If you would like to donate to proton beam therapy research, please click here.