Britain to invest 250 mln pounds in pioneering PBT cancer therapy   2012-04-05 20:43:38            

LONDON, April 5 (Xinhua) -- Britain is investing up to 250 million pounds (around 396 million U.S. dollars) in a pioneering cancer treatment called Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) , to benefit around 1,500 patients a year, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said on Thursday.

The funds will be invested by the country's National Health Service (NHS) in building PBT facilities at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust hospital in Manchester and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH).

The Department of Health has set aside public capital for this scheme.

PBT is a type of radiotherapy, which uses a precision high-energy beam of particles to destroy cancer cells.

The treatment is particularly suitable for complex childhood cancers, increasing success rates and reducing side-effects, such as deafness, loss of IQ and secondary cancers.

However, given the complex nature of the treatment and facilities, the therapy will not be fully available in England until 2017, the Department of Health said.

The NHS has been funding British patients in need of PBT to go abroad for treatment, either to Switzerland or the United States.

It will be spending 30 million pounds per year sending up to 400 patients overseas by 2014/15.

"Once this service is in place, The Christie and UCLH will boast unparalleled cancer facilities. It will mean more patients will be able to get this treatment, including those for whom travelling abroad for long periods is not possible," Lansley said.

"In addition to improved success rates proton beam therapy reduces the side-effects which patients, particularly children, can suffer as a result of traditional forms of cancer treatment," he added.

The Department of Health said its assessment showed the scheme to be affordable and deliverable in the short term.

Should further capacity be needed in the future, the preferred third site is University Hospitals Birmingham, it said. Enditem

Editor: Lu Hui
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