Proton Beam Facility in South Australia

The Australian Government will provide $68 million to the South Australian Government to purchase accelerator equipment and two treatment rooms to support the establishment of Australia’s first Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) research and treatment facility at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute.

Page last updated: 09 May 2017

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Why is this important?

Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) is a form of radiation therapy that uses heavier particles (protons) instead of x-rays, which are used in conventional radiotherapy.

PBT is most relevant for patients suffering from cancer of the skull, vertebral column and bony pelvis, and certain paediatric cancers.
At this stage this technology is not available in Australia for treatment and research.

There is a growing international focus on PBT and Australia risks being left behind other innovation nations if investments are not made to provide a domestic capability.

Investment in PBT is aligned with the Government’s drive for innovation, and support for improving health outcomes for Australians.

The Government will ask the National Health and Medical Research Council to convene an expert group to further investigate and advise on the research capabilities of PBT and options for additional PBT facilities in other jurisdictions.

Who will benefit?

The main potential benefits of PBT primarily come from the physical distribution of its radiation dose, enabling in the ability to more accurately target and treat tumours located close to vital organs, tissues and bones so as not to damage those structures.

The other main group of patients to potentially benefit are children with brain tumours for whom photon irradiation is suboptimal.

This investment is a boost for South Australia’s health and medical research capacity, the health system, and patients across Australia who stand to benefit from accessing this new technology.

How much will this cost?

This measure will cost $68 million in 2017–18.

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