Manchester to host prestigious conference

Press release posted 27 July 2016

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) together with Marketing Manchester, are delighted to have been awarded the opportunity to host the prestigious Particle Therapy Co-Operative Group Annual Congress (PTCOG) in 2019, in Manchester.

This conference brings together more than 1,000 leading clinicians, physicists and other practitioners in particle therapy (a form of radiotherapy using beams of protons or heavy ions for cancer treatment) to share the latest clinical, scientific and industrial developments and showcase the latest technology which can enable organisations to improve patient treatment.

All PTCOG conference hosts are either a particle therapy centre or leading research institution. The Christie will be opening the UK’s first NHS high energy proton beam therapy centre in 2018, with UCLH’s centre opening in 2019. The two centres will be the only ones of their kind in the UK.

The bid was presented to the PTCOG global steering committee, composed of leaders of proton and heavy ion treatment centres around the world, and was awarded to Manchester the same day, seeing off a competing bid from Krakow (Poland).

The recent conference in Prague attracted more than 1,100 delegates from across the world, and over the next two years will be hosted in Yokohama (Japan) and Cincinnati (USA) before returning to Europe and Manchester in 2019.

The conference will be fully hosted in Manchester and take place over six days at Manchester Central. Marketing Manchester estimate that, should the same number of delegates visit as in previous years, the conference will be worth more than £2.5m to the local economy, as well as attracting the best scientific minds to Manchester and raising the profile of the NHS national proton beam therapy programme.

Professor Ranald Mackay, director of Christie Medical Physics & Engineering and part of the project team bringing proton beam therapy to The Christie, said: “The Christie is very excited to be developing the national proton therapy service in partnership with UCLH. Our centre will open in 2018 and PTCOG in 2019 will bring the best clinicians and scientists from the particle therapy community to Manchester and ensure that the NHS service is world leading.”

Richard A. Amos, Operational Lead for Proton Therapy Physics at UCLH and member of the organizing committee for PTCOG, added:  “PTCOG is the premiere international annual meeting for those involved in particle therapy treatment, research, and development. It’s a great honour to host this meeting here in the UK.”

The city of Manchester has already played host to a considerable number of international scientific and healthcare conferences, with a particular focus on oncology which is built on Manchester’s heritage as a pioneering city of cancer research and treatment. Manchester is also the current European City of Science.

The Christie, UCLH and Marketing Manchester were supported by a host of organisations including the Kenes Group and the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre (who hosted PTCOG the last time it was in UK in 2003), and received supporting letters from the Secretary of State for Health, the Chief Executive of NHS England, the Royal College of Radiographers, CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research) and the National Physical Laboratory.

Currently patients requiring proton beam therapy have to travel abroad for long periods of time to receive this state of the art treatment as the service is not available in the UK. These treatments will be delivered in Manchester and London as a national service combining the expertise of cancer specialists from the two hospitals.

The new service will bring together some of the world’s leading specialists in complex cancers.  Together, The Christie and UCLH will see more children and teenagers with cancer than almost any other centre in the world, and more adults with bone and soft tissue cancers and cancers of the skull base than any other centre in the UK.

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