Proton beam centres 'to treat 1,500 patients a year'

The therapy - which is particularly helpful for children with rare and complex tumours - was highlighted with the case of Ashya King last year.

 

The five-year old's parents took him abroad after doctors in the UK did not recommend it for his brain tumour.

Experts say the new centres will be "game-changing".

 

The therapy allows precise targeting of certain tumours, increasing the success rates and reducing the risk of damage to surrounding tissues.

 

But it is not yet available in the UK - apart from one clinic to treat eye conditions.

On Wednesday, a ceremony at University College London Hospital (UCLH) - attended by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt - marked the start of construction at one of the sites, due to open in 2019.

 

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