University of Lincoln

Improving the accuracy of cancer treatment for children

It is estimated that one in two people living in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer.  Currently, around 40 per cent of patients receive radiotherapy, which can cause significant side-effects.

These difficult side-effects could soon be minimised thanks to a pioneering new device which uses proton beams to create 3D images of a patient’s anatomy. This enables doctors to more accurately target tumours, which reduces the damage that can be caused to healthy tissue. This is especially beneficial for children as the effects of radiation treatment can often cause complications later in life even if the cancer itself is gone. 

Led by Professor Nigel Allinson, an expert in image engineering at the University of Lincoln, this innovative new method of imaging and treating cancers will eliminate some of the uncertainties associated with traditional x-ray therapy and enable treatment of more difficult tumours.

This work has been awarded several prizes including being named as one of 100 engineering ideas that changed the world in the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s year-long exhibition in 2015. 

Further reading