The Provincial Grand Lodge of East Lancashire
The Provincial Grand Lodge of East Lancashire

The ELMC supporting The Christie NHS Foundation Trust

Saturday, February 17th, 2018

On Monday 29 January 2018, Chris Byrom and Stephen Thomson had great pleasure in presenting a cheque for £2000 to The Christie Charity, on behalf of the East Lancashire Masonic Charity ( ELMC ). The application was made by Chris, through his lodge, East Lancashire Centurion No 2322.

The cheque was gratefully received by Sue Bowden, Trust Fundraising Officer, who explained that the donation will contribute towards their ‘Proton Beam Therapy – Research Room Appeal’.

Chris Byrom, Sue Bowden & Steve Thomson

The UK’s first national Proton Beam Therapy ( PBT ) Centre is due to open at The Christie in the Summer 2018.   Cancer patients from across the UK will be referred here for this revolutionary treatment instead of having to travel overseas to proton centres in the US or Switzerland.   A second centre is due to open at UCLH in London in 2020.

The advantage of PBT over standard radiotherapy is that protons stop once they hit their target, depositing the majority of the dose within the tumour, rather than carrying on through the body.  It is therefore particularly successful in treating patients including children with brain tumours and tumours close to vital organs such as the spinal column.

Whilst this is an exciting and long-awaited development for cancer patients here in the UK, there is a need for further research into the way that proton therapy is delivered so they can improve outcomes for a greater number of patients in terms of improved tumour control and the reduction of problematic side effects and late effects of cancer treatment in young patients.

The government is investing £125m to fund each PBT centre.  However, the cost of on-going research falls outside Department of Health funding and so The Christie Charity is aiming to raise £5.6 million to build and equip a dedicated research space within the Christie PBT centre that will give researchers access to the beam itself.

Article by Chris Armstrong