Australian Bragg Centre for Proton Therapy and Research

Australia’s first proton therapy centre
Australian Bragg Centre for Proton Therapy and Research

Bringing the most advanced cancer treatment and research to Australia

The Australian Bragg Centre for Proton Therapy and Research will be Australia’s first proton therapy centre and the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.

Proton therapy is a precise, non-invasive radiotherapy that can destroy cancer cells while minimising damage to surrounding healthy tissue including vital organs.

Australia Bragg Centre

The Australian Bragg Centre for Proton Therapy and Research will occupy the ground floor and three below-ground levels of the Australian Bragg Centre building which is currently under construction on the eastern side of the distinctive SAHMRI building on North Terrace, Adelaide.

The building is expected to be completed in 2023. From then, the proton therapy machine will undergo 12-18 months of installation and testing before patient treatment begins.

The centre will also be an integral part in a global network undertaking proton therapy research. As a relatively new treatment option and one that remains expensive and not widely available, proton therapy has only been validated against a small range of cancers. The technology is potentially beneficial in treating many other diseases, but more research is needed in these areas to prove its efficacy.

About Proton Therapy

Proton beam therapy is a type of radiotherapy that targets tumours with high-energy, positively charged particles (protons).

It is a more precise alternative to X-ray (photon) radiation therapy, which is more commonly used to treat cancers.

The precise nature of proton therapy, with the ability to target cancer cells at a specific depth inside the patient, means there is less radiation delivered to healthy tissue surrounding the tumour. This can result in fewer side-effects for the person being treated. It also makes proton therapy a safer treatment option for children and adolescents since their rapidly growing and developing cells are more susceptible to damage from the radiation.

Brain area is receiving a laser beam impulse

Vital research is needed to unlock the potential of proton therapy to improve health and save lives of people suffering from a range of medical conditions. As a relatively new technology, proton therapy is predominantly used for a selection of rare and paediatric cancers where research has demonstrated its efficacy and ability to reduce potential side effects. The Australian Bragg Centre for Proton Therapy and Research will be an international centre for research in this expanding field of medical science.

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The Technology

The Australian Bragg Centre for Proton Therapy and Research will operate a Radiance 330 proton beam therapy system, designed and manufactured by ProTom International.

It is the same system that is in operation at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, USA.

The Radiance 330 system is based on a proton synchrotron accelerator and is designed to deliver superior dose sculpting and higher beam efficiencies compared with other methods of proton beam delivery. It has the highest beam energy available on the market with unique capabilities in performing proton radiography and computed tomography.

The proton therapy system will be housed in a three-level treatment and research facility across the underground levels of the Australian Bragg Centre building. The centre will consist of three radiotherapy treatment rooms. Two treatment rooms will include 180-degree rotating gantries. The third room will house two fixed, horizontal beamlines.

The design of the ABC has been developed and reviewed by a team of local and international experts including experienced clinicians, suppliers and consumer advocates. This collective includes the Clinical Reference Group comprising clinicians and health professionals from all relevant disciplines.

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Images are courtesy of Stantec

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