Early results from an innovative new clinical trial led by researchers from Queen's University Belfast have shown that men with prostate cancer could benefit from radical radiotherapy that delivers treatment in just five visits.
The leading-edge 'SPORT trial' (A Study Evaluating Stereotactic Prostate Radiotherapy in High-Risk Localised Prostate Cancer) is the first if its kind in the UK and uses an advanced treatment called 'SABR' (Stereotactic Ablative Body Radiotherapy). SABR is highly accurate in targeting certain cancers and delivers large doses per treatment, allowing men to have their full course of radiotherapy in only five hospital visits instead of the typical 37.
In addition, patients in the study have SpaceOAR, a minimally invasive hydrogel technology, inserted prior to radiotherapy treatment. In previous studies, SpaceOAR has been shown to significantly decrease unwanted radiotherapy side-effects for patients.
The trial is led by Dr Suneil Jain, Clinical Reader at Queen's University and senior oncologist at Friends of the Cancer Centre alongside Dr Ciaran Fairmichael, Clinical Research Fellow at Queen's. Dr Fairmichael explains:
"One of the complications from using radiotherapy is the potential damage that can be inflicted on neighbouring tissues.
"In this trial, we are evaluating the performance of the SpaceOAR hydrogel which is inserted between the prostate gland and the rectum of the patient. This creates a greater distance between the prostate tumour and other tissues, which allows us to concentrate the radiotherapy dosage provided to the tumour and thus reducing the chance of radiation harming other tissues close to the tumour such as the bowel."