Youngest proton beam patient helps NHS centre celebrate milestone

The youngest patient to be treated using pioneering proton beam therapy has helped mark the three year anniversary of the UK’s first NHS high energy centre at the world-leading Christie cancer centre in Manchester.

Teddy Slade recently celebrated his fourth birthday but was just 18 months old when he needed proton beam therapy for a rare brain tumour, making him the youngest patient to be treated at The Christie.

After surgery to remove the tumour, Teddy was given proton beam therapy at The Christie for six and half weeks.

Now Teddy, who lives in Stockport with mum and dad, Amy and Dan, only requires regular checkups to monitor his progress.

Proton beam therapy is a specialist form of radiotherapy that targets cancers very precisely, increasing success rates and reducing side effects, which makes it an ideal treatment for certain cancers in children who are at risk of lasting damage to organs that are still growing.

Teddy’s mum, Amy, said: “A diagnosis like Teddy's is terrifying and devastating. However, the proton beam centre at The Christie is a place of hope.
“It was a huge shock when Teddy was diagnosed as he was so young and to be told he had a brain tumour was absolutely heartbreaking.
“However, the staff at The Christie are amazing and the care Teddy and the support our whole family received there was first-class. We are so very lucky to have this life-saving medical technology in Manchester."

Teddy, who also has two older siblings, Lottie, 17, and Charlie 14, is now enjoying pre-school and living a full and normal life. His grandmother, Anthea, also lives locally and the family are now looking forward to watching Teddy continue to make progress and enjoy his life.

Teddy’s consultant at The Christie, Gillian Whitfield, said: “It is great to see Teddy doing so well and we were thrilled to be able to help him at the centre near his home here at The Christie.
“Being able to give patients like Teddy proton beam therapy is wonderful as it not only reduces the side effects of the treatment but also means his family did not have to travel abroad as many did before the NHS opened the centre here in Manchester.”

Amanda Pritchard, Chief Executive of NHS England, said: “Since Teddy received the first NHS proton beam therapy treatment at The Christie, over 700 patients in the UK including 300 children, have benefitted from this pioneering treatment.
“In the last few months we have also opened a second centre at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, meaning even more patients now have access to this world-class, cutting-edge care for cancer.
“This is a major milestone for the NHS and marks the completion of our plans to deliver PBT therapy in the UK and radically transform cancer treatment across the country.”

Proton beam therapy has been offered overseas to NHS patients who are eligible for treatment in England since 2008, but it was only when the centre opened at The Christie that patients could be treated in the UK.

Following the opening of The Christie’s £125 million centre in late 2018, a second has now opened at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in 2021. Up to 1,300 patients will be treated across both sites each year.

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust was the first specialist trust to be rated as ‘Outstanding’ twice (in 2016 and 2018) by the health regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC). It referred to The Christie as ‘a leader in cancer care’ and ‘a pioneer in developing innovative solutions to cancer care.’ The CQC praised the Trust’s staff which it said ‘go the extra mile to meet the needs of patients and their families’ and that they were ‘exceptionally kind and caring.’ In 2017, the CQC rated The Christie as the best specialist trust in the country, and one of the top three trusts overall in England. 

Amy, Teddy and Dan

Last updated: March 2022