Protons progress archive

May 2017

Click here for details of upcoming deliveries to the proton beam site that may temporarily affect parking on Oak Road.


March 2017 

The cyclotron is the machine which accelerates Protons up to an extremely high speed. These are then delivered using powerful magnets to the three Treatment Rooms as well as to the research room for work with The University of Manchester.  

The Christie cyclotron has been built by Varian in Troisdorf, Germany and is due to be transported to the Christie site during the summer. The cyclotron weighs the same as a Boeing 747 and is the size of a family car. Varian name each of the cyclotrons they produce and have chosen to name our cyclotron ‘Emmeline’ in recognition of the famous Mancunian Emmeline Pankhurst. The photo below shows senior members of the Christie team visiting Emmeline in Germany. 


February 2017 

This photo shows the inside of the first treatment room to be completed which is now ready for equipment delivery in the Summer. The image shows how large the room needs to be to house the equipment. The beamline will enter the room through the space currently taken by the doorway you can see. 

Once the equipment has been installed the room will be fully fitted out to look similar to the image below.


December 2016 

Construction works on the Proton site are continuing to programme.  The below photos are taken from roof level and show the completed concrete works to two of the main treatment rooms.  

The below photo shows a view into the 4th room  which will be used for research.  The 3rd treatment room has now reached a similar stage of completion and the contractor is beginning internal fit out works in this room  ready for delivery of the equipment in June 2017. 


14th July 2016  

The Christie, together with partners in University College London Hospital (ULCH), applied in May 2016 to host the Particle Therapy Co-Operative Group Annual Congress (PTCOG). This conference brings together more than 1000 leading clinicians, physicists and other practitioners in particle therapy to share the latest clinical, scientific and industrial developments and showcase the latest technology which can enable organisations to improve patient treatment. The recent conference in Prague attracted more than 1100 unique delegates from all 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 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). Although the bid is a joint enterprise between the Trusts, the PTCOG conference, which takes place over 6 days, will be fully hosted in Manchester and take place at Manchester Central. Marketing Manchester estimate that, should the same number of delegates visit as did for Prague, that winning the conference will be worth more than £1.4m to the local economy, as well as attracting the best scientific minds to Manchester and raising the profile of The Christie and the NHS National Proton Therapy Programme.   

The Christie and UCLH were supported by Marketing Manchester, the Kenes Group and Clatterbridge, and received a long list of supporting letters from key individuals and institutions, including the Secretary of State for Health, Chief Exec for NHS England, the Royal College of Radiographers, CERN and the National Physics Laboratory, and many more. A copy of the bid book the Manchester team took to the conference can be found at this link. The Christie’s Proton Beam Therapy centre, due to commence treating patients in 2018, is of major interest to delegates attending this conference and was at the heart of the bid.  

More information about the conference is available  by contacting Jim Weightman on


7th July 2016   

Major structural work is continuing on our Proton Beam Therapy Centre site and over the next month work will progress to the columns, walls and floor slabs in the bunkers and cyclotron areas.  

Block A towards the back of the site is currently being clad and the internal fit-out of the building has begun.  


9th May 2016 – building progress update 

The proton beam therapy centre is progressing well and has now cast all of the ground floor slabs in the bunker areas; this now leaves the cyclotron slabs to be completed. The walls are progressing well and over the next month the first floor slabs are being cast to the bunkers. 

The first part of the site to be complete was handed over to the Trust this month with the early provision of the new major substation on Palatine Road. Cladding is progressing to the block A structure adjacent to the School of Oncology. 

10th - 14th July 2016 

The Christie will run an advanced radiotherapy summer school to learn about recent advances in radiotherapy from leading practitioners in the field. Monday 11th July is dedicated to proton beam therapy. Find out more about the course on The Christie School of Oncology web page.


3rd May 2016 

These are our first images of the Varian cyclotron C14 which will be installed in the Proton Beam Therapy Centre in early 2017. It will supply the beam of protons to the three treatment rooms and the research room. The cyclotron weighs more than a jumbo jet but is not much larger than a family car! 

A cyclotron is a compact particle accelerator that uses electromagnetic waves to accelerate particles. A stream of charged particles is fed into the centre of the chamber, and voltage alternately attracts and repels the particles, causing them to accelerate

4th February 2016 

On Wednesday 4th February, The Christie invited health correspondent Thomas Moore and the Sky News team to come and film behind the scenes at The Christie for a whole day as part of World Cancer Day 2016.   

Sky News interviewed a variety of our patients, staff, fundraisers and clinicians during the day and were given exclusive filming opportunities.    

View the interview with Professor Nick Slevin on Proton Beam Therapy below:    

Interview with Professor Nick Slevin on Proton Beam Therapy


1st February 2016    

Two tower cranes are positioned on the Proton Beam Therapy site, each reaching a maximum height of 45 metres. This is about half the height of Big Ben and one third the height of Beetham Tower, Manchester’s tallest building.  The cranes will remain on site now until the end of 2016.   

The steel structure of the building is fast emerging.  In total 810 tonnes of steel will be used within the steel frame which is the equivalent of 583 VW Golf cars. The first 200 tonnes of steel, already in place, frames the tower to house the plant equipment that will support patient treatment equipment in other parts of the building.    


25th November 2015   

Concrete is poured to create part of the floor of the main treatment area. The Proton Beam Therapy Centre will be made up of 42,495 tonnes of concrete which is equivalent to 234 Jumbo jets.      

The way in which concrete sets is influenced by weather and temperature and is not predictable, so there will be occasions when we will have to work later than planned on days when concrete is being poured on site. You can find out the dates when this is happening by clicking here.     


23rd September 2015   

Professor Nick Slevin hosted a meeting of the Royal College of Radiologists at The Christie, focusing on treatment advances for head and neck cancer and examining possible areas for future progress such as proton beam therapy.    

The Christie will also be hosting the British Sarcoma Group annual meeting in February 2016.  Proton beam therapy will be one of the focuses of interest for 2016. The call for abstracts is now open, click here for more information.   


17th August 2015   

Now the ground has been prepared, construction can begin with ‘piling’ for the Proton Beam Therapy Centre underway and continuing for 9 weeks. Piling is the essential support needed for the building, a technique that will set deep foundations.   


27th July 2015   

The Proton Therapy project celebrated a significant milestone in the programme today by holding its ‘ground breaking’ event on the site.   

The celebration was supported by patients, clinicians, senior NHS staff and contractors who have been instrumental in bringing proton therapy to The Christie in 2018.      

Patients Lucy Thomas and Andrea Seal (pictured) who travelled overseas to receive their proton therapy treatment, helped break the ground.     


24th July 2015    

A big milestone is achieved, as the main supplier contracts are signed. Varian Medical Systems will provide proton therapy equipment to both The Christie and University College London Hospital (UCLH).The Christie’s build partner is Interserve (ICL).   

The ground is being prepared and hoardings marking the site boundary reveal how the new centre will benefit our patients.    


13th July 2015    

Following the General Election and the approval of a Supplementary Final Business Case (SFBC), the Department of Health gives the go ahead for The Christie to sign contracts with our suppliers. The legal team is now working hard to finalise everything. 


11th March 2015 

The Department of Health announces the preferred bidder for the supply of equipment for the proton beam therapy service.   

The Christie and UCLH's preferred equipment supplier is Varian and The Christie's build partner is Interserve Construction Ltd. Both were selected following a rigorous public procurement process.  


27th February 2015   

The Department of Health approves the Final Business Case (FBC), which enables the Trust to appoint a preferred bidder of equipment and prepare contracts with this supplier and the build contractor. After the General Election, the Trust is required to submit a Supplementary Final Business Case, once the equipment and building contracts are finalised.  


July 2013   

The Department of Health and HM Treasury approves the Outline Business Case (OBC) to establish a national service for proton therapy in Manchester, as one of two national centres, the other being University College London Hospital (UCLH). A joint equipment procurement process will now be launched. 


13th December 2011  

The Christie welcomes plans unveiled by the Health Secretary to invest up to £150million in procuring a new cutting-edge 'proton beam therapy' radiotherapy cancer service. 

The Christie is selected by the Department of Health as one of three potential providers of the service, alongside University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.