New MUSC prostate cancer treatment has shorter recovery time
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) —
There’s no one size fits all when it comes to medicine, but there is some promising news for those fighting prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is the second deadliest cancer in men nationwide, but it’s very treatable if detected early.
Researchers with the Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina said they’ve successfully completed the world’s first prostate cancer surgery using the Blu Build Cesium-131 brachytherapy delivery system.
“The patient goes home the same day, it takes about an hour and a half,” said Dr. David Marshall, professor of Radiation Oncology and Urology.
He said brachytherapy works well to treat aggressive forms of prostate cancer. He and his medical team have treated 13 patients using the Blu Build system, which implants radioactive seeds, the size of a grain of rice, into prostate tissue.
This device is an improvement for brachytherapy, allowing for modifications to add links or spacers and ensures the seeds do not move around once implanted.
“This allows us to link the seeds in the operating room to allow us to customize deliverable, exact placement of the cesium seeds,” Marshall said.
Each seed is designed to deliver a high radiation dose—zapping the tumorous spots—without damaging too much around it.
“The hope is that the window of bladder irritation, which is the main side effects from prostate cancer, especially from seed implants, would go from three to six months,” he said. Typically, side-effects can last anywhere between six months to a year.
While most prostate cancers are treated with either surgery or external radiation therapy, eventually Marshall said he hopes this will become another widespread option.
“We don’t have to treat every prostate cancer that we diagnose, we have to find the ones that are going to act more aggressively and then we treat those and the seed implant, this technology is a step in the evolution of that treatment,” he said.
IsoRay, Inc. is the only producer of Cesium-131 brachytherapy, which expands internal radiation treatment for prostate and other cancers difficult to treat including brain, gynecological, lung, head, neck, esophageal and cancers of the abdominal wall.
The Hollings Cancer Center uses the therapy solely to treat prostate cancer.