Fringe Box



Trial Could Lead to Reduced Cancer Treatment Time

Published on: 28 Mar, 2024
Updated on: 2 Apr, 2024

Radiotherapy Trial Pic caption L-R: Radiographer Kate Maltby, Michael Robson, Dr Philip Turner

By Chris Caulfield

local democracy reporter

The first cancer patient set to undergo a revolutionary new procedure that could cut treatment time by almost a quarter said it was a “ privilege” to be given the opportunity.

The Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust is taking part in a new clinical trial led by the Royal Marsden into prostate cancer.

Currently, patients are treated with radiotherapy over a minimum of 20 treatments which lasts four weeks or more. Under this new process, that time could be reduced to one and a half weeks.

Michael Robson, 78, is the first patient to be part of the trial in Royal Surrey. He was diagnosed in December 2023.

He said: “One of my friends was diagnosed with prostate cancer and he said I should get a test so I had a blood test and I was called by my GP and sent for an appointment at urology.

“I was fortunate enough to meet Dr Philip Turner who gave me the options and went through everything.

“Everything has been explained to me in a way that is easy to understand and made the journey so much easier to deal with. All of the staff I couldn’t complement them highly enough. They have been fantastic.”

Michael was given options for treatment and was asked if he was interested in taking part in the clinical trial and he agreed straight away.

He added: “It’s been fantastic here.

“I feel very privileged to be the first patient. The service has been first class from everybody concerned.”

Patients with low and intermediate risk disease who took part in a trial called PACE-B demonstrated that the process would work in the tighter time frames.

This new study is too determine whether those considered high-risk would get the same benefits.

The trial, called PACE-NODES, was opened at The Royal Marsden and was designed jointly by investigators from Queen’s University Belfast and The Institute of Cancer Research, London.

Dr Philip Turner, consultant clinical oncologist and principal investigator for the trial, said: “We are delighted to be opening the PACE NODES trial in Royal Surrey. This is part of our drive to give Surrey patients access to the very best oncology clinical trials from across the UK and indeed from across the world.

“The benefits with regard to timing are enormous – the standard of care for these men is a minimum of four weeks of daily visits which is very disruptive to life.

“The rates of side effects are low. Crucially, the five fraction treatment appears just as safe as conventional 20 fraction treatments which we have been using for years very safely.”

Louise Stead

Chief executive Louise Stead said: “Royal Surrey has a long and proud tradition of being a premier centre of UK oncology research and we are determined, with the support of our patients and other partners, to ensure as many patients as possible have access to ground-breaking research close to home.

“If successful, this could make a huge difference to patients receiving treatment for prostate cancer.”

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