Clinical Trial Radiotherapy - SABR


The first Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy (SABR) prostate cancer patient was treated at the Northern Ireland Cancer Centre this month as part of a National Clinical Trial – the PACE study, led in Northern Ireland by Dr Suneil Jain, Friends of the Cancer Centre’s Honorary Consultant in Clinical Oncology in Belfast Trust and Senior Lecturer at Queens University Belfast. PACE aims to compare Conventionally Fractionated Radiotherapy vs SABR for Early Stage Organ-Confined Prostate Cancer. Practically this means patients may be offered highly accurate radiotherapy in five treatments at the Northern Ireland Cancer Centre compared to 20-39 treatments. SABR is a state-of-the-art radiotherapy technique, allowing the delivery of high doses of radiotherapy with reduced toxicity which has the potential to improve cure rates in the future.

This study is one of a number of urology trials that utilises the implantation of fiducial markers (small gold seeds placed in the prostate gland under local anaesthetic) to facilitate Image Guided Radiotherapy (IGRT) i.e. to enable radiographers to visualise the prostate more accurately at the time of radiotherapy delivery. A fiducial Insertion clinic began in late 2015 to support the introduction of this advanced radiotherapy technique within clinical trials. This has been a collaborative process involving a multi-professional team of medical staff, clinical research radiographers, radiographers, nurses and physicists, a true partnership between Belfast Trust and Queen’s University. The trial and the work of the clinic have also been supported by Friends of the Cancer Centre through the funding of Dr Jain and a number of vital research radiographer posts.

The knowledge and skills gained by the team will be used to continue to advance the highest levels of advanced radiotherapy techniques for cancer treatment in Northern Ireland.