Trials could transform bone cancer treatment27th December 2008
Clinical trials are being carried out in the UK using highly-targeted radiotherapy to tackle bone cancer.
The technique means radiotherapy can be given at much greater doses to destroy cancerous cells in the bone marrow without harming healthy cells.
A two-year trial involving 80 patients is being carried out at Southampton General Hospital, with doctors already encouraged by initial results.
Half will receive the new radiotherapy with chemotherapy and the other half will have chemotherapy alone.
The radiotherapy kills the cancer cells in the system before a transplant of healthy stem cells is carried out to replace the lost ones.
Traditional doses of radiotherapy would cause severe damage to the body but as the new system delivers a radioisotope that attaches only to the surface of cancer cells, the healthy tissue is not affected.
At present patients with multiple myeloma are being tested for the treatment but it could be extended to other cancers of the blood and bone marrow such as leukaemia.
The trial is being led by Dr Kim Orchard, a senior lecturer at the University of Southampton's School of Medicine.
Dr Orchard said: "We hope that the trial will show a clear benefit in better and longer remissions from myeloma. If we are successful, this approach offers great promise for the treatment of a range of other blood cancers."
The study is being funded by Leukaemia Research.
Scientific consultant Dr David Grant said: "This new radiotherapy is not only more effective and potentially cheaper than existing treatments."
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Title: Trials could transform bone cancer treatment
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 9663
Date Added: 27th Dec 2008