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April 24, 2013
A world first procedure performed at London Health Sciences Center (LHSC) and facilitated by research at Lawson Health Research Institute (Lawson) provides a new minimally invasive treatment option for patients with localized prostate cancer.
The treatment - transurethral magnetic resonance (MR) guided ultrasound ablation for prostate cancer - utilizes a new ablation device that uses thermal ultrasound therapy with real-time MR image guidance to eliminate cancer cells in the prostate gland. Physicians have a 360 degree viewing angle that allows the whole prostate gland to be treated in one session and with greater accuracy.
“This represents a significant advance in the management of prostate cancer,” said Dr. Joseph Chin, chief, surgical oncology, LHSC. “Magnetic resonance image guidance allows us to target prostate tissue, using ultrasound energy without harming healthy tissue outside of the prostate.”
While conventional treatments for localized prostate cancer, including radiation therapy and surgery, provide good control of disease, they leave men with significant long-term complications which can reduce the patient’s quality of life. This new treatment option will reduce these complications and can also benefit patients who have a smaller amount of cancer that is less likely to spread.
Brian Danter, 62, a youth pastor from Windsor, Ontario, has lived with prostate cancer for five years and is the second patient to be treated in the study. “I was fortunate my cancer was found early and there was only a small amount – about the size of a pencil dot,” says Danter.
Because the cancer was small, he and his health team chose to monitor the cancer rather than proceed with more radical treatment options. With this new treatment option available at LHSC, Danter seized the opportunity to be rid of his cancer. “I was told I would not die from my cancer, but now I am hopeful I will be cancer free.”
The world first procedure was done as part of a clinical trial approved by Health Canada to evaluate the safety and feasibility of the new ablation device to destroy prostate tissue. Similar procedures have been done in an experimental setting where the prostate was removed surgically immediately after the treatment in order to examine the treatment effects. With the new procedure, the prostate is not removed and the longer term effects of the treatment will be monitored on both the patient and prostate.
The clinical trial will treat a total of 30 patients with localized prostate cancer. The patients will be followed for one year to check on the progress of the treatment and any side-effects, monitor indicators of quality of life and signs of residual prostate cancer. Additionally, the same patients will be followed annually for up five years to collect data related to treatment effectiveness.
“We hope the clinical trial will show that this system can provide an effective and minimally invasive treatment for localized prostate cancer, with minimal side effects," adds Chin.
Wendy Shoff, Lawson Research Coordinator, with patient Brian Danter and Dr. Chin.