14 August 2017

Alceli proton therapy developer beams in on the Alexander Graham Bell Centre.

Alexander Graham Bell Centre

The Alexander Graham Bell Centre, Elgin welcomes Alceli Ltd who are developing proton therapy equipment for the radiological treatment of cancer.

Proton Beam therapy (PBT) is the use of protons (rather than X-ray or gamma radiation) for the radiological treatment of cancer. It has strong advantages over other types of treatment in certain cancers, such as brain cancers, where current 5-year survival rates are very low (~20%).

PBT is an invisible and highly controlled beam that works by using pencil point precision to target a tumour. When it releases radiation, the radiation beam slows down, which allows the protons to interact with electrons allowing a release of high-energy. This high-energy is then released into its designated location (the tumour). As the beam is controlled by a physician the beam only targets the shape and depth of a tumour to allow healthy tissue to remain undamaged.

It can also reduce or eliminate the need for chemotherapy with its associated devastating side-effects, and in some cases (such as eye cancers and prostate cancer) provide a cure without the loss of function (loss of sight, impotence) caused by surgery.

The advantages of PBT have been known for a long time, but it is still not widely used, in part due to the previously high cost of building the large and complex particle accelerators necessary. Steve Hunt of Alceli Ltd said "We want to reduce  the cost of PBT down to the same level as existing Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) therapy"

"We want to help make sure proton therapy is available to anyone who needs it."