Unlike conventional radiotherapy which delivers X-ray beams to attack a tumour site and leaves radiation deposits in surrounding tissues, proton beam therapy delivers heavily charged protons in a more targeted manner that can be controlled to stop at a defined point in the body, thereby reducing damage to peripheral tissue and organs.
The study comes as the UK’s third proton beam therapy facility was opened in Northumberland this week; the Rutherford Cancer Centre North East.
The Northumberland centre has started assessing patients for PBT and will begin treatment within weeks. Its sister centre, in Newport, South Wales, was the first to treat patients with proton beam therapy in the UK, with another centre in Reading due to start treating patients with PBT later this year.
The Rutherford Cancer Centres already have a relationship with the University of Pennsylvania, which advises the centres on patient screening for proton beam therapy.