The University of Melbourne has welcomed a $2 million investment by the State government in today’s budget to help plan and develop a National Centre for Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) as part of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC)

The project will be undertaken in conjunction with the University and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

Proton beam therapy is a cancer treatment that offers significant benefits to patients, particularly children, as it causes less side effects than other forms of radiation treatment and results in less damage to the healthy tissue surrounding a tumour.

There are presently no proton therapy facilities in Australia or South East Asia, and approximately 50 PBT centres globally. The presence of a facility in Victoria will not only benefit Victorians but also offer opportunities for research into cancer therapies and training of clinicians.

Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Sheil said the project is a great initiative for Victoria.  “This Centre will draw on the existing strengths of the Melbourne biomedical precinct, and the expertise located at the University’s Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences and the Faculty of Science.

“The University welcomes the opportunity to be part of this project, that builds on our already strong record in cancer research and medical training, and will help ensure Victoria continues to lead the way in developing advanced treatments in the fight against cancer.”

The Centre will bring together experts in research and cancer treatment from both the University and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.  The $2 million commitment will allow work to begin on developing a business case for the Centre and determine the most appropriate location and machine.

Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences Professor Stephen Smith said, “This announcement is an excellent recognition of the work that needs to be done in this area.”

“As a member of the VCCC we’re looking forward to working with our partners on further developing improved clinical treatments for patients.”