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
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
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
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
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