Research at Belfast City uses gel to transform radiotherapy

Back row: Oncology Systems Limited clinical sales specialist Jonathan McMillan, locum consultant oncologist Dr Ciara Lyons, consultant oncologist Dr Darren Mitchell, research fellow Dr Ciaran Fairmichael and Augmenix Inc director international sales Dirk Seagers.  In front: urology site specialist radiographer Pat Shiels, R&D radiographer Karen Crowther, consultant oncologist and chief investigator of the SPORT trial Dr Suneil Jain, clinical research radiographers Jane Cousins and Oonagh Stewart, lead clinical research radiographer Sharon Hynds and clinical research radiographer Stacey Murray.

Belfast City Hospital, part of Belfast Health and Social Trust, has become the first NHS site to use SpaceOAR hydrogel from Oncology Systems Limited as part of a trust sponsored clinical trial.

The stereotactic prostate radiotherapy (SPORT) in high-risk localised prostate cancer trial, led by Friends of the Cancer Centre honorary consultant oncologist and senior lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast Dr Suneil Jain, is assessing a new way of delivering radiotherapy to men with prostate cancer.  Stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy (SABR) allows clinicians to treat prostate cancer with high doses of radiation delivered with fewer treatments than usual.

Hospital lead clinical research radiographer Sharon Hynds said: “The SpaceOAR hydrogel is expected to decrease side effects experienced by men receiving radiotherapy during the trial.  This system works by placing a small amount of gel between the prostate and rectum, a prostate spacer, to increase the distance between them, thus reducing the radiation dose received by the rectum during treatment.  The SpaceOAR system is composed of biodegradable material that can maintain the space between the rectum and prostate through the entire course of radiotherapy and is absorbed by the patient’s body over time.

“It has been shown to be well tolerated and to improve quality of life for men receiving radiotherapy to the prostate,” Hynds said.

See the full report on page 2 of the November 2016 issue of RAD Magazine.

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