University of Lincoln's £1.6 million radiotherapy research

A £1.6 million grant has been awarded to the University of Lincoln to lead research into radiotherapy treatment for cancer.

The university said it aimed to improve accuracy in proton therapy with more accurate doses and 3D tumour images.

The Wellcome Trust said the therapy could deliver high doses of radiation directly to a tumour with little radiation absorbed by healthy tissue.

The three-year Pravda project is to use imaging sensors developed on campus.

The university said the therapy was particularly useful in treating cancer in children, and tumours close to "vital structures" such as in the head or near the spinal cord.

Nigel Allinson, from University of Lincoln, said: "Radiotherapy is a fundamental weapon in the battle against cancer with some 50% of patients receiving it as part of their treatment.

"Being able to image exactly how the radiation interacts with a tumour, in 3D, is considered the holy grail of radiotherapy."

The Department of Health announced in April that two "cutting-edge" radiotherapy centres offering proton therapy would be built in Manchester and London by 2017 as part of a £250m project.

The university said 100 NHS patients currently had to travel abroad for proton therapy, but it was hoped 1,500 patients could be treated in the UK by 2015.

It said there are around 40 proton therapy treatment centres around the world, with another 30 in construction.

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