Preparing For Proton Beam Therapy Cancer Boost

Victoria has provided $50 million in funding towards establishing a National Proton Beam Therapy Centre for the treatment of cancer in Melbourne.

Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy, made the announcement while touring the construction of University College London Hospital’s Proton Beam Therapy Centre.

Proton Beam Therapy offers a clinical advantage for many paediatric and adult cancers thanks to its precision, reduced toxicity and reduced risk in causing cancers later in life.

This makes proton beam therapy ideal for treating hard to reach cancer, untreatable cancers and cancer in children.

Following last year’s investment of $2 million, this $50 million means planning activities can intensify to develop a proton beam therapy centre in Parkville.

The centre will be operated by the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, the largest public provider and leading academic provider of radiation therapy services in Victoria, and will build on the strong research reputation of the University of Melbourne and other partners of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre.

Ms Hennessy also gained valuable insights from the Proton Beam Therapy cancer treatment facility at Skandion Clinic in Uppsala, Sweden.

Parliamentary Secretary for Medical Research, Frank McGuire, also travelled to America to visit Proton Beam Therapy Centres in Houston, Texas and Boston Massachusetts.

The proton beam funding announcement follows a significant month for Victoria’s fight against cancer, which includes the opening of the $1 billion Victorian Comprehensive Cancer, one of the world’s best cancer research and clinical facilities, and the launch of Victoria’s Cancer Plan 2016-2020 with goals to save 10,000 lives by 2025.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy

“Children with cancer will benefit the most from proton beam therapy as they may have the greatest long-term harm from conventional radiation therapy.”

“A Melbourne-based National Proton Beam Therapy Centre means Victorians won’t be forced to seek treatment overseas, saving them from the distress of being separated from loved ones as well as the prohibitive cost of travel and foreign medical treatment.”

“It was great to see first-hand the work being done by the University College London Hospital on its Proton Beam Therapy Centre and how this could be translated here in Victoria.”