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Targeted Radiotherapy from 2018

By: Pharma News | Views: 2382 | Date: 05-Aug-2013

Prime minister David Cameron said the investment means the NHS will be able to treat more patients in the UK Proton beam therapy, a targeted form of radiotherapy, is to be available at hospitals in Manchester and London from 2018 following a £250 million public investment, the Department of Health has announced.

 
Targeted Radiotherapy from 2018
 
 
 
Prime minister David Cameron said the investment means the NHS will be able to treat more patients in the UK

Proton beam therapy, a targeted form of radiotherapy, is to be available at hospitals in Manchester and London from 2018 following a £250 million public investment, the Department of Health has announced.

The £250 million is not new money: the government flagged up more than a year ago that the cash to build new treatment centres for the purpose at the hospitals was in the offing, although they are going to be in place a year later than originally intended.

Proton beam therapy uses charged particles instead of x-rays to deliver a dose of radiotherapy for patients, which means it can be directed more precisely, causing less damage to surrounding tissue.

From 2018 it will be offered to up to 1,500 cancer patients at the Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester, and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in London.

The hope is that it can be particularly effective in treating children and young people with brain tumours, for whom the therapy appears to produce fewer side effects such as secondary cancers, growth deformity, hearing loss and learning difficulties.

At present, NHS patients are offered such treatment in the US - but not everyone is convinced that it represents real value for money.

The British Medical Journal has already said that, as proton beam therapy has not yet been the subject of a NICE technology appraisal: “It is not yet clear that its cost could not have achieved greater benefits if applied elsewhere in the NHS, either in cancer treatment or in other areas.”

But prime minister David Cameron is in favour of offering it to patients in this country and the investment means the NHS “will be able to treat more patients in the UK and reduce the stress placed on families who have had to travel to the US to receive this innovative treatment”, said public health minister Anna Soubry.

As the government has now formally approved the business case for the two new centres to be built and equipped, the next step is for the hospitals to put out tenders for the work to be carried out.


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