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RAH plan for high dose radiation to help inoperable kidney cancer

9 Jan 2018 at 12:00 AM

Patients with inoperable kidney cancer have been given new hope by an ultra-high dose radiation treatment, which pulverises tumours without killing surrounding healthy tissue.

Adelaide urologist Associate Professor Nick Brook.Five Royal Adelaide Hospital patients who have undergone the treatment are all reported to be doing well.

The project will be expanded thanks to a $589,000 Cancer Australia grant.

RAH researchers are part of an international, multi-centre project studying the effectiveness of the high dose radiotherapy treatment on patients unable to undergo traditional surgery.

Latest figures show more than 3000 new cases of kidney cancer are diagnosed in Australia each year while 920 people died in 2014.

Doctors say the standard treatment is surgery but as it commonly occurs in older patients, many are unable to tolerate an operation due to medical conditions such as heart disease.

Some are subsequently not treated despite having limited levels of the disease.

Others with small cancers, located at the edge of the kidney, are treated using heating or freezing electrodes poked through the skin while under anaesthetic.

The new funding will allow researchers to increase the trial use of the so-called stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy (SABR).

The treatment is already used successfully on some other cancers including lung, liver and prostate, delivering high doses of radiation with millimetre-perfect precision to avoid damaging healthy tissue.

Principal RAH investigator, radiation oncologist Dr Braden Higgs, said the new treatment opened a new option for treating kidney patients who would otherwise face limited alternatives.

“This allows us to deliver very high doses of radiation to tumours with great precision,” he said. “It holds great promise as a treatment for the future and this grant will allow us to continue the study and recruit more patients.

“It has been done it on five patients at the RAH so far and all are doing well.”

RAH Director of Urological Cancer Associate, Professor Nicholas Brook, said it is a new treatment for kidney cancer.

“Previously it was not possible to do this as the kidney moves around during treatment,” he said.

“But there is a new technique that allows SABR to be given to the kidney without damaging surrounding tissue.

“Before this, we had no treatment options for patients who were too unfit for kidney surgery. Now, these patients have a treatment option that is potentially curative.”

A trial at Melbourne’s Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre proved the treatment is safe and tolerable for patients.

Radiation is delivered over one to five sessions rather than five days a week for two months for conventional radiotherapy, using more angles and beams than standard treatmentsl.

This article was originally published on The Daily Telegraph. You can read the original article here.

Category: Rare Cancers in the News
Tags: Adelaide, Braden Higgs, cancer, high dose radiation, kidney cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, Nicholas Brook, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, prostate cancer, Radiation, RAH, rare cancers, Tumours, Urological Cancer Associate,