Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday laid the foundation stone for the new Rs.425-crore national hadron beam facility (NHBF) and a cancer care centre for women and children at the Tata Memorial Cancer Hospital (TMCH) here.
The facility, part of radiation therapy to treat cancer, will be funded by the centre through the department of atomic energy.
It is expected to be ready within four years and will cater to nearly 1,500 cancer patients every year.
Lauding the TMCH in bringing cancer treatment within the reach of the poorest people, Manmohan Singh said the government has made cancer fighting and prevention a top priority in the national health sector.
Speaking on the occasion, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said the state government had given five acres of land free of cost to the TMCH to establish the NHBF.
Atomic Energy Commission Chairman R.K. Sinha said with the NHBF, India will join a select group of nations in the world offering this advanced treatment of cancer.
Unlike the conventional radiation therapy in which X-rays consisting of high-energy photons are used to destroy tumours and also affect normal tissue, the hadron beam facility uses irradiated beams made of charged particles of protons and other ions like carbon which penetrate the body with little diffusion.
These destroy the cancerous tissues in a more focused manner, causing minimum damage to healthy tissues and lead to a better life during and after treatment.
Maharashtra Governor K. Sankaranarayanan, Ministers Rajiv Shukla and Milind Deora along with TMCH director R.A. Badwe were present.