University Medical Centres to Offer Proton Cancer Therapy
THE HAGUE, 02/08/13 - Four university teaching hospitals in the Netherlands will be allowed to offer proton therapy, a new form of radiotherapy which can be used in the treatment of certain forms of cancer.
The health ministry announced Thursday that the University Medical Centres (UMCs) in Groningen, Amsterdam and Maastricht can be awarded a licence for the treatment of cancer patients with proton therapy. This also applies to the teaching hospital partnership between Delft, Leiden and Rotterdam.
The treatment involves irradiation with protons, which release virtually their full energy exactly at the right spot in the tumour. The proton treatment causes less damage to the body than the current form of irradiation.
The ministry has drawn up a scheme with licence conditions. The UMCs still have to apply for the licence. This is possible up to 1 September.
There are a total of eight UMCs in the Netherlands but a maximum of four of these will receive a licence, in some cases in a partnership.
Per year, 2,200 patients can receive proton therapy. It is expected that it will be possible to undergo the therapy in Delft in 2016, while the Maastricht UMC believes it will be able to offer the treatment from mid-2017.