Royal Surrey joins new radiotherapy trial to reduce treatment time for prostate cancer | News

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Royal Surrey joins new radiotherapy trial to reduce treatment time for prostate cancer

Two clinical team members and trial patient Michael Robson are photographed next to a radiotherapy machine

A new clinical trial led by The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and the Institute for Cancer Research has begun at Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust, offering men with high risk prostate cancer radiotherapy treatment in a quarter of the time.

Currently, patients with prostate cancer are treated with radiotherapy over a minimum of 20 treatments which lasts four weeks or more.

For patients with low and intermediate risk disease, a large clinical trial called PACE-B showed that five treatments of advanced stereotactic radiotherapy could safely be used as an alternative to longer courses of conventional radiotherapy. It would run over a week and a half instead of four weeks.

The next phase of the PACE trials, which are led by Professor Nicolas van As, Medical Director and Consultant Clinical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden and Professor in Precision Prostate Radiotherapy at The Institute of Cancer Research, is to look at whether the five fraction treatment is also effective for men with high risk disease.

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. Royal Surrey is one of the major cancer centres across the UK taking part.

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 compliment 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.

“It’s been fantastic here,” he added.

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

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.”

Chief Executive Louise Stead said: “We are thrilled to be involved in this new clinical trial for patients with prostate cancer.

“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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