A world-first prostate cancer trial is using revolutionary technology developed in Australia to reduce treatment time and combat side effects.
The TROG 15.01 SPARK trial aims to improve the accuracy for patients undergoing radiotherapy for prostate cancer, as well as lung, liver, kidney and pancreas cancers.
The technology is called Kilovoltage Intrafraction Monitoring (KIM).
It assesses the position of the cancer and enables healthcare professionals to redirect a radiation beam if the cancer moves, even by a few millimetres. Hopefully it will be done in a way that improves the chances of controlling the disease, as well as reducing the chances of side effects. Associate Professor Jarad Martin, radiation oncologist and SPARK trial co-chair
Newcastle man Steve McCluskey is one of the first people in the world to access the treatment via the Calvary Mater Newcastle.
He said the reduced number of hospital visits was making life a lot easier.
“I am a great believer in new technology, and I loved the idea of only having five visits with minimal chances of major side effects,” he said.
“I cannot wait to get the treatment behind me as quickly as possible and get on with my life.”
Trial co-chair and radiation oncologist, Associate Professor Jarad Martin, said shorter treatment times would reduce hospital workload and costs.
“On this particular clinical trial, we’re actually compressing the time of the radiotherapy from 39 visits over eight weeks, down to only five visits over two weeks, all done as an outpatient,” he said.
“Hopefully it will be done in a way that improves the chances of controlling the disease, as well as reducing the chances of side effects.”
Dr Martin said a Newcastle man receiving the treatment was responding well.
“Our chap is already a few treatments into his fortnight worth of radiotherapy and, thus far, hasn’t had any issues whatsoever,” he said.
“He goes to work each day, comes in, gets his treatment and really just carries on life as normal.
“It’s really exciting that Newcastle is able to be rolling out this very promising technology as part of a Trans Tasman Radiation Oncology Group (TROG) direct clinical trial.”
The trial is coordinated by TROG Cancer Research, co-funded by Cancer Australia and the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, and sponsored by the University of Sydney.
Researchers are expected to report back late in 2017, once about 48 patients have been recruited.