Physics Seminar: Dr Simon Jolly
Dr Simon Jolly
High Energy Physics Group
Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, University College London
Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) is a more effective alternative to conventional radiotherapy, where high energy protons (60-250 MeV) are used in place of X-rays. The advantage of PBT is a consequence of the markedly different dose deposition profile of protons: as a result of the Bragg Peak most of the energy is deposited in the last few millimetres of the proton path. This allows a precise tuning of the delivered dose through appropriate selection of the proton beam energy and leads to much lower doses of radiation outside the target volume.
Large-scale PBT facilities for cancer treatment are a new undertaking in the UK. Until 2018 the UK's only operational PBT centre was the Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology on the Wirral: with a 62 MeV cyclotron and a penetration depth less than 4 cm, treatment is limited to eye tumours.
A new high energy centre at The Christie in Manchester began treating patients in late 2018: another based at University College Hospital in London (UCLH) will follow in 2020. These will treat a total of 1,500 patients a year, primarily those with the most challenging tumours of the head and neck and the central nervous system. This talk will focus on the history of proton therapy treatment in the UK, give some rationale for choosing PBT over conventional radiotherapy and describe the current status of the two new NHS centres.