Pioneering trial begins at Torbay Hospital

Staff who are involved in of the PACE trial with Barry Jarvis, the first patient to be treated as part of the trial

Staff who are involved the development, preparation and delivery of the PACE trial with Barry Jarvis, the first patient to be treated as part of the trial - Credit: Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust

Torbay Hospital's radiotherapy department has treated the first patient using stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) as part of a pioneering trial.

Patient Barry Jarvis said: “I feel very privileged to be involved with the PACE trial and have appreciated fewer trips to the hospital. I feel that it is important to participate in research to help other patients in the future.

“The staff in the oncology department have been fantastic. They have been helpful and reassuring at all times.”

The PACE trial involves the use of a new technique called SABR which uses advanced imaging technologies with sophisticated computer planning to safely deliver precisely-targeted radiotherapy using fewer higher doses of radiation.

This means patients attend hospital for as little as five visits as opposed to many more over several weeks.

It was announced earlier this year that the Torbay South Devon NHS Foundation Trust would be the first in the South West to open the PACE trial to treat prostate cancer patients.

A trust spokesperson said: "It has taken a lot of hard work by teams in radiotherapy, medical physics and oncology research and development departments, as well as many other staff across the organisation who provided support which made this possible.

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"A special thank you must also go to the patients who are taking part, including Barry Jarvis who is the first patient to be treated as part of the trial at Torbay Hospital."

The treatment is seen as an excellent alternative to surgery, while facilitating treatment closer to home and avoiding the need for patients to travel as frequently.

The treatment will also increase the trust’s capacity to treat cancer patients while allowing vulnerable patients to reduce the number of times they visit hospital.

The development of stereotactic radiotherapy has been enabled by the trust’s investment in modern linear accelerators to deliver this most sophisticated form of radiotherapy.

The trust is also keen to recognise the support and achievements of Peter Hosking and the Torbay Prostate Support Association (TPSA).

Peter was the founding member of the TPSA in 1999 and was named as a MBE in the New Year’s Honours List in recognition of this work.

The TPSA has raised substantial funding that over the years has directly helped and supported patients, and improved prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment at Torbay Hospital.