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Campaigning couple urge NHS to buy £70m US cancer treatment machine

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The success of a new cancer treatment in the US has prompted a British couple to campaign for it to be introduced by the NHS

Rosalie and Paul Barnes were forced to raise money to fly their five-year-old son Alex to America for proton therapy for a brain tumour.

The treatment minimises the risk of brain damage by placing tiny metal balls into the head to accurately direct lasers to the site of cancerous tissue.

The machines cost £70 million each - and the Barnes, from Fleckney in Leicestershire, are now pressing for at least one of them to be acquired by the NHS.

They met with health minister Ann Keen this week, together with their MP Edward Garnier and expert Dr Adrian Crellin, to press their case.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: ‘An expert advisory group has been formed to advise the Department and establish a framework for the development of proton therapy services in England.

‘In the meantime, there is funding available for a number of cancer patients to be referred overseas for high-energy proton treatment.’

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