Radiotherapy trial aims to improve cancer treatment for Torbay patients

The PACE trial is a pioneering study that involves the use of stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) to treat prostate...

The PACE trial is a pioneering study that involves the use of stereotactic ablative radiotherapy to treat prostate cancer patients. Picture: Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust - Credit: Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust

A pioneering research trial for cancer patients in Torbay and South Devon could lead to improved cancer treatments for local people.

Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust’s oncology research and development department will soon be opening the pioneering radiotherapy trial PACE.

This makes the trust the first site in the South West Peninsula to open the trial.

The PACE trial involves the use of stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) to treat prostate cancer patients.

SABR is a new technique that will allows radiotherapy departments to deliver more focused, higher-dosed radiotherapy over a smaller number of visits.

It can see radiotherapy patients attend hospital for as little as five visits as opposed to the 20-25 visits currently.

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

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

SABR has recently been described by NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens as 'potentially lifesaving' and has been something lead consultant clinical oncologist Dr Anna Lydon has been keen to bring to Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust with the help of research radiographer Sophie Norman.

Dr Lydon said: “Introducing this trial enables us to offer SABR for the first time in Torbay and South Devon.

"Not only is this an exciting treatment for men with prostate cancer, but it will form a key part of future treatments for other tumour types

“The significant investment made by purchasing two new radiotherapy treatment machines between 2016 and 2018 has enabled this, and it ensures that the trust continues to offer the most up-to-date radiotherapy treatments for our patients close to home.

"We are delighted to be the first radiotherapy centre in the South West to open this exciting trial.”

The PACE trial is sponsored by the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and coordinated by the Cancer Research UK-funded Clinical Trials and Statistics Unit at The Institute of Cancer Research, London.

The trial is funded by The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, Accuray and Varian.