NI team in prostate cancer breakthrough

 Scientists in Belfast have pioneered a new treatment for men suffering from an aggressive form of prostate cancer.

Every year in Ireland, over 2,000 men are newly diagnosed with cancer of the prostate, while 500 die as a result of the disease.
This new treatment is aimed at men who are suffering with an aggressive and advanced form of the disease that has spread to the bone.
With this type of prostate cancer, treatment often involves chemotherapy. However, benefits are usually short-term. This new treatment combines chemotherapy with two doses of the radioactive chemical, Rhenium-186 HEDP. Working together, these can target areas of the bone which have been affected by the cancer.
This is the first treatment of its kind to be developed. It has already proven successful in phase one of its trials and is now set to be tested in a second phase.
Commenting on the treatment, lead researcher, Dr Joe O'Sullivan of Queen's University, said that this marks a ‘significant development in the fight against prostate cancer'.
"While this combination treatment still has to go to phase two of trials, to know that this combination is safe and feasible as a treatment is a huge step forward," he explained.
He pointed out that traditional chemotherapy treatment is not always effective in treating advanced forms of prostate cancer, ‘so we needed to develop a new treatment which will provide better outcomes for patients with this type of cancer'.
"The combination of chemotherapy with the radioactive chemical, Rhenium-186 HEDP, has the potential to improve outcomes, including survival, for men with this form of cancer."
The second phase of this trial has already begun in Holland and is also due to begin in the UK within the next six months.
"The trial will involve up to 100 patients from Northern Ireland and the Netherlands and it is hoped that results should be known within two years," Dr O'Sullivan added.
Details of the first phase of this treatment's trial are published in the European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging.

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