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18 March 2021
Cancer care
Innovations

The London Clinic is pleased to become the first hospital in the UK to employ OncoSil™, a breakthrough treatment for locally advanced pancreatic cancer.

Detail of a tumour viewed with OncoSil

OncoSil is a single-use brachytherapy device (internal radiation) comprising of phosphorous-32 microparticles suspended in a specially formulated diluent.

The pre-determined dose of beta-radiation is delivered directly into the cancerous tissue via ultrasound-guided endoscopy – so the endoscopist and nuclear medicine specialist can see the tumour on a screen whilst administering the treatment, ensuring accuracy of delivery. 

Unlike traditional radiotherapy, which usually achieves a maximum radiation dose of 50-60 Gy, OncoSil is able to deliver a dose of 100 Gy. This means it is much more effective at destroying the cancerous cells.

The beta particles emitted by OncoSil directly target the cancer cell DNA, which renders the cells incapable of further division, ultimately shrinking the tumour mass.

Thanks to increased visibility for the consultants and the ability to deliver the particles directly into the tumour, they do not need to pass through any of the healthy tissue around the tumour, almost eliminating the risk of adverse side effects.

Meanwhile, whereas traditional radiotherapy treatment needs to be administered over as many as 25 sessions, the OncoSil treatment is done in a single sitting as an outpatient procedure, which takes around 60 minutes.

Increasing survival rate

Pancreatic cancer occurs when abnormal cells in the pancreas grow out of control, with symptoms varying according to the tumour type and location. People typically do not show symptoms in the earlier stages of the disease and so it is difficult to detect.

One of the main challenges with locally advanced pancreatic cancer is when the tumour is unresectable – meaning it is too large or infiltrative to be operated on.

In these situations, OncoSil has been shown in clinical studies to increase overall survival and lead to downstaging, allowing patients to undergo surgery to remove their tumours. 

Data released from a recent PanCo clinical study showed around 33% of participants became eligible for potentially curative surgery, compared to 10% with conventional chemoradiotherapy. This surgery is critical as it statistically improves the five-year survival rate from ~7% to >20%.

The PanCo study, which had participating sites in Australia, UK and Belgium, saw a total of 50 subjects enrolled in the study, with 42 subjects successfully implanted with the OncoSil device. 

Our clinicians at The London Clinic performed the largest number of implantations in the UK/EU during this study and we are proud to be the first centre in the UK to treat patients using this technology in 2021.

Dr Zarni Win, Consultant Radiologist and Nuclear Medicine Physician at The London Clinic, said: 

“I am particularly excited about this new therapy, as it now offers a much higher chance for pancreatic cancer patients with locally advanced disease to undergo curative surgery following OncoSil therapy, compared to a more pessimistic outcome with conventional treatment.”

Nigel Lange, CEO and Managing Director, OncoSil Medical President, EMEA said: 

“I am delighted that The London Clinic will be the first institution in the United Kingdom to routinely offer patients with unresectable locally advanced pancreatic cancer treatment with the OncoSil device. This provides patients and their clinicians with an encouraging new approach and hope, in a disease where there has been little advancement for decades.”

Further information

OncoSil treatment

Cancer care

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