£17 million cancer-fighting proton beam therapy machine is UK's first

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The UK's first cancer-fighting proton beam therapy machine has arrived in the country.

The revolutionary technology was previously only available overseas, but the arrival of the 55-ton cyclotron accelerator machine will complete the final phase of a cancer centre being built in Newport, South Wales.

The £17 million machine will take a year to install at the Rutherford Cancer Centre and is expected to treat 500 patients a year.

The therapy uses a high-energy beam of protons, rather than X-rays, to deliver radiotherapy for patients, reducing the risk of damage to surrounding healthy organs.

The Newport centre is one of several being built by Proton Partners International across the UK, which will offer proton beam therapy, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Previously, British patients would have to travel overseas to receive proton beam therapy.

Professor Gordon McVie, chairman of Proton Partners International, said: "This is a milestone for cancer treatment in the UK.

"We are committed to transforming cancer care and that is why we are installing the most advanced proton therapy technology available.

"Around 10% of cancer patients will benefit from proton beam therapy by having significantly less long-term side effects. The availability of this treatment in the UK will mean over time that patients will no longer have to endure travelling abroad for treatment, which is the case at present."

Treatment at The Rutherford Cancer Centres will be available to medically insured private patients, self-paying patients and patients referred by the NHS.

The Welsh Government, through its Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund (WLSIF), has a stake in Proton Partners International.