Northampton Hospital treats first prostate cancer patient with HDR Brachytherapy

19 February 2013

Northampton General Hospital (NGH) has used monotherapy HDR brachytherapy for the first time for a patient with prostate cancer, enabling the patient to make just two visits to the clinic for treatment.

HDR brachytherapy uses a single high-intensity radiation source on the end of a thin cable that is temporarily inserted — via remote afterloader — into catheters positioned in the disease target.

Traditional external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) requires the patient to undergo as many as 40 therapy sessions over seven weeks. Planning for HDR brachytherapy was significantly streamlined with the HDR Real-time Prostate Solution supplied by Nucletron, an Elekta Company, which provides real-time ultra-sound planning capabilities.

"Monotherapy HDR brachytherapy using this form of brachytherapy as the only treatment will be used for patients who are not suited for EBRT due to medical reasons," says Chris Elwell MD, clinical oncologist at NGH. "This first patient had inflammatory bowel disease and could not tolerate a full course of EBRT. HDR brachytherapy was his best option, because it allowed him to have just two treatment sessions separated by 10 days and enabled us to reduce the radiotherapy dose to his rectum. In this way, the patient's travel to the hospital was greatly reduced and he could return to normal life more quickly."

The complexity of planning HDR brachytherapy demanded an advanced solution, which NGH physicians found in HDR Real-time Prostate Solution, which provided live ultrasound images in real time for contouring, planning and optimization.

"Because we run a busy department with high patient throughput, live ultrasound planning with HDR Real-time Prostate Solution was critical," Dr. Elwell says. "It provided an efficient and streamlined workflow for HDR brachytherapy."

Monotherapy HDR brachytherapy is the subject of rigorous multicenter clinical research trials in the United Kingdom, with new treatment protocols emerging for the procedure. Peter Hoskin, MD consultant clinical oncologist at Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, has collected data that point toward the therapy's clinical efficacy. 



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