Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

An Oxford University researcher has been awarded nearly £1m from Cancer Research UK to investigate a new form of treatment for prostate cancer.

© NDS

Dr Richard Bryant, a urological surgeon and clinical lecturer at Oxford University’s Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences, will use the cash injection to investigate combining a new form of treatment alongside conventional radiotherapy for men with advanced or aggressive forms of prostate cancer.

If his research proves to be both safe and effective for patients, Dr Bryant believes it could be 'game-changing' for men diagnosed with the disease in the future.

Dr Bryant was awarded a Clinician Scientist Fellowship, which supports cancer doctors carrying out research. He will receive £847,242 over five years to carry out his research in the hope of transforming treatments for future prostate cancer patients.

His project will look at the use of vascular-targeted photodynamic therapy (VTP) – a novel form of minimally invasive surgery that uses light treatment to target the destruction of a specific area of tissue such as a tumour while limiting any potential damage to healthy tissue – in combination with radiotherapy. The aim is to establish if the combined VTP and radiotherapy treatment is more effective than each treatment given alone.

Prostate cancer is the commonest cancer in men in the United Kingdom and around 500 men are diagnosed in Oxfordshire every year.

Many patients currently receive a course of radiotherapy, which is delivered over approximately six weeks. Many of these patients will be cured by radiotherapy, but in some patients the cancer can return, and in addition to this the radiotherapy itself can have significant side effects.

It is highly exciting research and I feel that this could be a potential game-changer for radiotherapy treatment for men with prostate cancer   - Dr Richard Bryant

The new form of light treatment, or VTP, damages the blood vessels and ‘starves tumours’ thereby destroying them. It has recently been tested in clinical trials for patients with very low-risk and low-volume early-stage prostate cancer and has been demonstrated to be safe and effective in those individuals, but it has not yet been used in combination with another treatment such as radiotherapy, nor has it used to treat more aggressive or advanced prostate cancer.

Dr Bryant said: 'Radiotherapy can cure many cases of prostate cancer, but it can cause difficult side effects and it may not be able to successfully treat some patients – possibly because the cancer has already spread or because some patients have a particularly aggressive form of the disease.

'We know that radiotherapy can still be improved and this is where I hope that this project takes us. We want to see if we can combine radiotherapy with another novel treatment. If we can show that this is safe and achievable then it could lead to a reduction in the necessary radiotherapy dose currently given to men with prostate cancer, thereby reducing the side effects of treatment.'

He added: 'It is highly exciting research and I feel that this could be a potential game-changer for radiotherapy treatment for men with prostate cancer. My hope is that it could lead to a step-change in the delivery of modern radiotherapy with the addition of a minimally invasive form of targeted surgery, and my aim would be to have early-phase clinical trials in patients within five years.'

Dr Karen Noble, head of research training and fellowships at Cancer Research UK, said: 'These awards allow us to support talented clinicians who will become the next generation of leaders in cancer research. They help encourage clinicians to continue to carry out vital research in conjunction with their clinical work treating patients

'This exciting piece of work which the Clinical Careers Committee has chosen to fund will discover if a new approach to the treatment of prostate cancer works well – and most importantly is safe – in patients.'

 

Read the story in the Oxford Mail.

Similar stories

Congratulations to the winners of the NDS Staff Awards 2022

On 16 June, the winners of the 2022 NDS Staff Awards were announced at a departmental summer BBQ at the Cherwell Boathouse in Oxford.

Oxford's largest ever study into varicose veins shows need for surgery is linked to genetics

Varicose veins are a very common manifestation of chronic venous disease, affecting over 30% of the population in Western countries. In America, chronic venous disease affects over 11 million men and 22 million women aged 40–80 years old. Left untreated it can escalate to multiple health complications including leg ulcers and ultimately amputations. A new international study by Oxford researchers published on 2 June 2022 in Nature Communications establishes for the first time, a critical genetic risk score to predict the likelihood of patients suffering with varicose veins to require surgery, as well as pointing the way towards potential new therapies.

New reporting guidelines developed to improve AI in healthcare settings

New reporting guidelines, jointly published in Nature Medicine and the BMJ by Oxford researchers, will ensure that early studies on using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to treat real patients will give researchers the information needed to develop AI systems safely and effectively.

Blog posts

Oxford MedSci goes silver: 10 Years of Athena SWAN

The Medical Sciences Division is celebrating 10 years since its first Athena Swan bronze application, and the first year in which all 16 of its departments have achieved a silver award. The silver award recognises commitment to gender equality, understanding culture and context, and more. Read about our department’s hard work and innovation.

Lights, camera, action! My journey into video production

Dr Hannah McGivern provides a 'behind-the-scenes' account of her experience producing the video 'Journey of a QUOD Sample: Donating to Transplant Research', supported by the funds from the University of Oxford Public Engagement with Research (PER) Seed Fund.

Mentoring in practice

NDS has launched a new, interdepartmental mentoring scheme called RECOGNISE. In this podcast, Gemma Horbatowski (HR Advisor) interviews Monica Dolton (Programme Manager and Research Project Manager) about her experiences of mentor-mentee relationships.