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How to design a proton beam centre

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[First look + plans] Rolfe Judd has won planning for this proton beam therapy centre in the City of London,

The scheme for Advanced Proton Solutions Holdings will overhaul exisiting offices at 35-39 Moorgate and 63-66 Coleman Street.

The design includes four levels of basement area, described as ‘an essential part of the proton beam therapy centre and house the synchrotron to generate the required proton beam’.

An area of the Coleman Street facade will be kept and allow building to revert to conventional office use if needed at a future date. A retail/cafe unit will be built on the ground floor at the corner of Moorgate and Great Swan Alley.


Proton beam therapy is a type of particle therapy that uses a beam of protons to irradiate diseased tissue, most often in the treatment of cancers. The chief advantage is the ability to localize the dosage compared to other types of radiotherapy. The technique involves generating a beam of magnetic particles called protons which can be focused very accurately on tumours so that they receive a very high dose of radiation while the surrounding tissues are not damaged.

The development began in the 1950s at accelerator laboratories mostly associated with MIT in Boston, USA. In the last 20 years it has expanded to hospital-based facilities but only 1 proton beam therapy centre exists in the UK, at Clatterbridge Hospital on the Wirral, Cheshire which can only treat up to 130 of the 1,500 plus patients a year who could benefit from this approach and is a very old system. 

The proton beam therapy centre at Clatterbridge is also a low energy facility which provides the only suitable treatment in the UK for certain eye cancers as the protons only travel a maximum of 31mm. As a result most UK cancer patients have to travel abroad for the treatment of other forms of cancer using proton therapy treatment.

A major obstacle has traditionally been the size and cost of the synchrotron equipment that generates the proton beam but several teams throughout the world are working on the development of smaller equipment which can safely be provided within specialist health facilities in sustainable urban locations such as the City.






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