Students target Switzerland with pioneering cancer therapy

Students at Ysgol Glan Clwyd are hoping their work on pioneering proton therapy project will win them a prestigious prize and a trip to Switzerland’s CERN project.

The A-Level Physics students are working with Ysgol Glan Clwyd’s head of physics Steffan Tudor and Liverpool University’s Dr Barry King to develop groundbreaking proton therapy for cancer patients.

The therapy is seen as more effective and less invasive than chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

The team is working with Ysbyty Glan Clwyd doctors and, if this new treatment is found to be effective, could be funded by the NHS.

The project is being submitted to a competition where the winner will be able to use the proton beam at CERN and put their proton theories to the test.

Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM, visited the school to see how the project was progressing for himself: “Although I’m not a scientist, I was hugely impressed by the students’ project. They were passionate and very eloquent in describing the therapy and how it could help cancer patients.

 “As with any new therapy there is a need to trial and assess its effectiveness but it does seem that it could have very real benefits in the health service. The fact that the NHS is working on this proton therapy and considering three centres in the UK in London, Manchester and Newport for such a treatment is testament to how practical this scientific work is.

 “The students told me that the downside of the proton therapy at the moment is cost – it’s three times as expensive as established cancer treatments. However, if it’s proven to be more effective and less invasive then a financial case could be made. It’s wonderful to see these students at the cutting edge of developing projects like this hand in hand with university staff and hospital doctors.

 “I have no doubt they can win the competition and a trip to CERN in Switzerland would be well deserved.”

Teacher Steffan Tudor said: “The team, which has worked with Liverpool University and Glan Clwyd Hospital, wish to model Proton Therapy, which is a very accurate method for treating some forms of cancer. The group is very enthusiastic and wants to raise awareness of this treatment with the public whilst celebrating the tremendous advances being made in medical physics. They were glad to share their ideas with Llyr Huws Gruffydd. Let’s hope for success for the team!”


Picture: Dr Barry King,  Liverpool University; teacher Steffan Tudor; Morgan Austin; Nia Pearson; Warren Luff; Harry Jones; Osian Williams; Ethan Hodge; Harri Evans; Ryan Parry

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