Prostate cancer study a game changer

Calvary Mater Newcastle is celebrating a game-changer for prostate cancer patients receiving radiation therapy.

Led by Calvary Mater Newcastle’s Professor Peter Greer, Principal Physicist, a study, which is believed to be the first of its kind in Australia and New Zealand, is creating treatment plans for patients with prostate cancer using only MRI scans.

In collaboration with the CSIRO and the University of Newcastle, Professor Greer and his team have developed a way to calculate the dose of radiation required, solely relying on MRI scans. The method requires the creation of a virtual CT scan for the patient using the MRI data.

Professor Greer said, “When planning treatment for our prostate cancer patients, MRI scans are used in addition to CT scans. However, having to undergo two scans is a burden, both to patients as well as the health system.

“Staff from the Department of Radiation Oncology looked into addressing this issue by replacing the CT scan with an MRI-only workflow when treating patients with prostate cancer.”

There is hope that the same technique could be applied to brain, head and neck, and pelvic and abdominal cancer treatments in the future.