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Prostate cancer trial aims to reduce radiation treatments

Apr 19, 2013

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VCU Massey Cancer Center has opened a Phase I clinical trial testing an innovative radiation therapy for patients with early stage prostate cancer that has the potential to drastically reduce treatment time. In comparison to the standard schedule of eight weeks of daily external beam radiation therapy, the new technique requires just four treatments, administered twice in the first week and twice in the fourth week.

“Many patients travel a significant distance to undergo radiation therapy at Massey,” says the creator of the innovative dosing schedule and lead investigator on the clinical trial Mitchell Anscher, M.D., Florence and Hyman Meyers Chair of Radiation Oncology and co-leader of the Radiation Biology and Oncology program at VCU Massey Cancer Center. “If successful, not only does this shortened dosing schedule mean less time out of work and less time in the clinic for patients, but we also estimate that it will cost at least $7,000 less than the standard eight-week treatment plan.”

The clinical trial shortens the treatment schedule by using a form of external beam radiation therapy called stereotactic radiation therapy. Stereotactic radiation therapy relies on precise imaging techniques, such as Massey’s Calypso 4D Localization System, to deliver a concentrated dose of radiation to the tumor with extreme accuracy. This approach allows physicians to deliver the same total amount of radiation over a much shorter period of time.

“Previous clinical trials and biological models suggest this approach could be an effective way to treat prostate cancer,” says Anscher. “We are testing the feasibility of this novel dosing schedule in hopes of developing a model that can be used by other treatment facilities with similar equipment.”

Approximately 250 patients are expected to enroll in the trial, which will be open at Massey and Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center, where Massey provides oncology care. Those interested in enrolling or learning more about the clinical trial should contact Massey’s Department of Radiation Oncology at (804) 828-7232 and reference clinical trial MCC-14712.

VCU Massey is currently conducting more than a dozen prostate cancer clinical trials and more than 150 total trials on a variety of cancers. View a complete list of all active clinical trials available at VCU Massey.

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