April 7, 2015 — The United Kingdom is to get its first three proton beam therapy centers, marking a significant breakthrough in the provision of cancer treatment. Cardiff-based Proton Partners International Ltd is to open the treatment centers in Cardiff, London and Northumberland by 2017; the first - Cardiff - will be operational next year. The centers will be available for National Health Service (NHS) patients from England, Scotland and Wales, medically-insured private patients and self-paying patients.
Proton Partners International was formed following discussions between Prof. Sir Chris Evans, the leading life sciences entrepreneur, and leading U.K. life sciences and healthcare investors on addressing cancer treatment in the United Kingdom. Institutional and private investors have committed to almost £100m equity finance in the company.
Prof. Gordon McVie, senior consultant at the European Institute of Oncology, has been appointed chairman, and Prof. Karol Sikora has agreed to become chief medical adviser to the company, alongside a range of renowned cancer and healthcare experts.
McVie said: "This is an exciting and important development of the provision of cancer treatment in the U.K. As things stand, patients who can benefit from this treatment have to go abroad for treatment, often at great expense to the NHS. The creation of these centers will go a long way to ensuring the very best of treatment is available in the U.K."
Sikora said: "I was delighted to be approached by Sir Chris as there are only 40 proton beam therapy centers around the world and a pressing need for more. In the U.K. there are none. Given the aging population, there will be a significant rise in the number of cancer cases in the U.K., and therefore we should do what is necessary to provide the appropriate level and type of care."
Evans and his team at Arthurian Life Sciences, which manages the £100 million Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund established by the Welsh Government, are investing in the company through the fund.
In addition to state-of-the-art Proton Partners' treatment services, the Cardiff center will provide conventional radiotherapy, chemotherapy and supportive care. This could then be offered through other centers.
In the future, Proton Partners International intends to develop further proton therapy centers in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
The government has announced that it will create two NHS proton beam therapy units, which will open in 2018.
For more information: www.nhs.uk