University signs R&D agreement with Proton Partners International

From l to r: Dr John Taylor (Physics)Ron Russell (Proton Partners International), Dr Ian Barwick (Proton Partners International), Professor Anthony Hollander (APVC for Enterprise) and Professor Themis Bowcock (Physics)

The University and Proton Partners International Ltd have agreed a two-year collaborative research project to enhance proton beam therapy technology.

The project will develop a new measurement system, known as a 3D Water Phantom, which will further improve the accuracy of proton beam therapy treatment.

The new  3D Water Phantom system will use state-of-the-art detectors developed by the Particle Physics research group in the University’s Department of Physics. Similar detectors are in operation in the ATLAS and LHCb experiments at CERN.

Improved accuracy will lead to better modelling and calibration of treatment beams which will offer more advanced treatment for patients. It will also allow for more accurate clinical research and development to be undertaken.

Proton Partners International is building a series of oncology centres known as The Rutherford Cancer Centres, which will offer proton beam therapy, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, imaging and wellbeing services. The company’s first centre in Newport, South Wales, will be the first in the UK to offer proton beam therapy.

Earlier this year, Proton Partners International announced it will build a £35 million cancer centre in Knowledge Quarter Liverpool’s Paddington Village close to the Department of Physics and the Royal Liverpool Hospital. The centre is expected to be operational within two years.

Professor Anthony Hollander, Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Enterprise at the University, said: “We are delighted to be working with the UK’s leaders in proton beam therapy to develop a new commercial system to improve proton beam therapy delivery.

“Liverpool will be home to one of the few proton beam therapy centres in the UK, thanks to Proton Partners International, and by working together we will ensure that Liverpool becomes one of the world leaders in proton beam therapy research.”

Dr Ian Barwick, Chief Scientific Officer of Proton Partners International, said: “Whilst we are building cancer centres across the country, we have always said that research and development are key to our work as we look ahead.

“By creating this new system, we will be making an important and innovative step in improving how proton beam therapy is actually delivered to patients.

“Our partnership with The University of Liverpool demonstrates that we are completely committed to improving proton beam therapy technology and advancing the wider research effort in cancer care.”

Professor Themis Bowcock, Head of the Particle Physics Group in the Department of Physics, added: “We are delighted to be entering into this relationship with PPI. This is a company that really understands tight delivery schedules on which our reputation is built.

“It is a pleasure to see that we have been able to bridge the gap between our Government funded projects to working closely with the industry. We believe this is another example of how fundamental research returns direct benefits to our society”





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