The centre will offer high energy proton beam therapy to cancer patients as part of a comprehensive range of treatments.

The Rutherford Cancer Centre Thames Valley has formally opened its doors to patients upon receiving Care Quality Commission (CQC) approval in order to treat patients for a range of cancer treatments including chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy and imaging services. Patients who may require proton beam therapy will be assessed at the Rutherford Cancer Centre Thames Valley for treatment at the Rutherford Cancer Centre South Wales which is 90 minutes by car along the M4. Proton beam therapy treatment will be available in the Thames Valley Centre in the second half of 2019.

Mike Moran, chief executive officer of Proton Partners International which operates the Rutherford Cancer Centres, said: “We are delighted to open our third Rutherford Cancer Centre in Reading and bring the most advanced cancer care to those in the South East. It is gratifying to see the speed at which each centre has been established, and our ultimate aim is to have a Rutherford Cancer Centre within 90 minutes of 75% of the UK population within the next three years.

“Reading is not only a dynamic city with a thriving healthcare and biotech scene, but one which is excellently located for patients to travel from Heathrow or other travel hubs. We see our Thames Valley centre as a gateway to proton beam therapy treatment, both for the UK as a whole and for patients from abroad.”

Proton Partners International’s first centre, the Rutherford Cancer Centre South Wales in Newport, was the first clinic in the UK to treat a patient with high energy proton beam therapy in April this year. Since then, the centre has seen increasing demand for the treatment, which previously could only be accessed by traveling to the USA or mainland Europe.

The Rutherford Cancer Centre Thames Valley is the first place in Europe to feature the Veritas SmartVue® Natural Light Window System, which is the first pre-engineered system of its kind to offer a window to the outside world within a radiotherapy room without risk of exposure to radiation. The wall-length window allows patients a view of the ‘living wall’ garden before treatment begins and then covers securely to prevent radiation leaks. This is a marked change from the usual isolated radiation rooms which must be kept entirely separate with no link to the outside world.

Professor Karol Sikora, chief medical officer of Proton Partners International, said: “We could not be happier about the opening of our third centre as we move further towards our goal of offering proton beam therapy to everyone in the UK who needs it. While proton beam therapy cannot treat every cancer, it is proven to be a highly effective treatment and one which has potential to drastically change lives for the better.”

In addition to Newport and Reading, a Rutherford Cancer Centre has also been built near Bedlington, Northumberland. A further centre in Liverpool is due to open in 2019 and other sites are under consideration. All centres will offer proton beam therapy available to medically-insured private patients and self-paying patients, as well as NHS patients should the Rutherford Cancer Centres be commissioned to provide proton beam therapy for them.