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Project information

Optimised Proton Therapy for Fanconi Anaemia

This new treatment has the potential to radically improve treatment for Fanconi Anaemia patients with cancer, but little is known about the detailed effects on FA cells. Our Study will determine how best to use this new treatment to help save many lives, since cancer for FA patients is inevitable

2-3 years

Charity information: Fanconi Hope

Fanconi Hope logo
  • Need


    Fanconi Anaemia (FA) patients cannot tolerate any significant amount of chemo or radiotherapy, so when they inevitably get cancer there is a limited amount that can be done to remove the cancers, which are predominantly head and neck and ano-genital cancers.


    Proton Beam Therapy can attack cancer cells with a very narrow beam that limits the damage to surrounding healthy cells. Current radiotherapy which is like a broad torch beam, causes widespread damage to these healthy cells, so in principle Proton Therapy should be much safer. However no research has yet been done on FA cells at the biological level to see what the exact effects are or what minimum doses are still effective. Our study will determine the optimum safe treatment for FA patients.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Determine the optimum doses of proton beam therapy for safe effective cancer treatment


    » Sponsor a 2-3 year Study at the University of Manchester using their new Proton Therapy Centre.

    What success will look like

    Proton Therapy will be used on healthy and Fanconi Anaemia-affected tissue to determine safety and effectiveness.

  • Impact


    This would be the first significant improvement in cancer treatment for FA patients in a decade and should save the lives of many FA patients. It should become the standard treatment for all FA patients with the specific types of cancer that should respond well to this treatment.


    We aim to employ a suitable postgraduate student to undertake the work. Their level of understanding of Fanconi Anaemia, a very complex genetic condition, at the biological level, will affect the outcome of the study, so great care must be taken in choosing the correct candidate.
    Access to the Proton Therapy Centre may be difficult at times due to competing priorities. 2 of our Charity Trustees already work closely with this centre and have developed good relations with key personnel.


    Project reports will be made available 6 monthly.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £224,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £157,000 Salary Post Graduate Salary over 3 years
      £67,000 Non-Staff Exp Consumables/Testing

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Fanconi Hope £60,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Manchester University Hospitals Trust Proton Therapy Centre


    People with Fanconi Anaemia who have developed cancers. The FA population in the UK is estimated to be 200-300, with increasing numbers surviving into adulthood due to improved bone marrow transplant regimes. Cancer in later life is almost an inevitability but we estimate that this treatment could save tens of lives per year.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Our Trustees are directly involved in FA research at the cellular and biological level and deal with cancers in FA patients currently. They are based at the University of Manchester Hospitals Trust and all are either part of or have very close links with the Proton Therapy Centre . This is currently the only NHS centre of its type in the UK.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Dr Stefan Meyer, Manchester University Hospitals Trust

    Lead researcher for the project

    Professor Karen Kirkby, UoM

    Proton Radiation Lead

    Professor AD Whetton, UoM

    Mass spectrometry and molecular biology lead