Irish trial could cut prostate treatment
A radical new radiotherapy trial could significantly cut the number of visits for men with prostate cancer.
Treatment may be delivered in just five bouts compared to the usual 37.
The pioneering trial at Queen's University Belfast delivered large doses per treatment concentrated on the tumour.
Gordon Robinson (70) took part in the trial and said: "If it wasn't for this research, I simply would not be here.
"My family and I are so thankful to the doctors who have helped us. This treatment has allowed me to live my life again."
Patients in the study had SpaceOar, a minimally invasive hydrogel technology, inserted prior to radiotherapy treatment.
In previous studies, SpaceOar has been shown to significantly decrease unwanted side-effects.
The trial was led by Dr Suneil Jain, clinical senior lecturer at Queen's University alongside Dr Ciaran Fairmichael, clinical research fellow at Queen's University.
Dr Fairmichael said: "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."
This reduces the chance of harming other tissue.