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Novel Seeding Techniques for Treating Prostate Cancer

Novel Prostate Cancer Treatment Developed at MUSC Showing Early Positive Outcomes

A five-year study of a group of prostate cancer patients who received a new kind of radioactive seed therapy at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) is showing positive preliminary results.   In 2007, David T. Marshall, M.D., Professor of Radiation Oncology and Urology, and Harry S. Clarke, M.D., PhD, Professor of Urology, developed the groundbreaking  technique called  “intraoperatively built custom-linked seeds” (IBCL) that is now used at many institutions around the world.  Using a computerized device that enables a radiation oncologist to see the radiation-emitting seeds and their dose cloud as he or she implants them, the oncologist is able to adjust them to the optimal configuration and link them.  Linking is the key to this technique’s success, for it ensures that the seeds migrate less, thus delivering the dosage as precisely as possible and avoiding healthy surrounding tissue and organs.

Since that first IBCL procedure, Dr. Marshall and his colleagues in the Department of Radiation Oncology and the Department of Urology have been refining the technique and following 148 IBCL patients.  The preliminary and as of yet unpublished results over a median follow-up of 2.7 years are that of the 67 patients in the low-risk category, none of them have experienced a relapse in PSA levels or shown signs of cancer progression.   Of the rest of the patients – the 81 men in the high-risk or intermediate-risk group – there were only five failures (defined as a PSA relapse or cancer progression).

 “These results are early but promising,” Dr. Marshall says.  “We’ve found that we have good tumor control and a level of toxicity that is normal for this kind of procedure.”  Dr. Marshall and his colleagues will continue to follow these patients indefinitely to update the results and outcomes as the data mature. These preliminary findings have been submitted for presentation at the American Radium Society annual meeting in April 2014.

In the clinical trial arena, Dr. Marshall and co-investigators at the Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Administration Medical Center, including Principal Investigator Sebastiano Gattoni-Celli, M.D., Professor of Radiation Oncology, have received a $1.1 million grant from the Veterans Administration to investigate the benefits of Vitamin D as a nutritional supplement to deter the progression of low-risk prostate cancer.  The trial is being conducted from 2013 through 2017.