Prostate Brachytherapy - MARS Protocol
Piedmont Hospital offers the latest generation of prostate brachytherapy – known as MRI assisted radiosurgery or MARS™. This new approach has been demonstrated to lead to high quality cancer treatment that minimizes the impact of radiation on the organs around the prostate, which in turn can lead to a reduction in side effects.
Brachytherapy, or radioactive seed implantation is a leading, cost-effective option for the curative treatment of prostate cancer. Brachytherapy is an out-patient procedure that involves implanting up to 100 tiny radioactive seeds into the prostate. It’s minimally invasive, effective and convenient, with a lower incidence of erectile dysfunction than is usually experienced with other treatment options. Radiation released from the seeds only penetrates to a limited distance, with most of it concentrated in the prostate.
When brachytherapy seeds are precisely localized with MRI during MARS™, it can lead to more effective treatment and better patient outcomes. To enable MARS™ the team at Piedmont Hospital utilize the Sirius® MRI Marker. Sirius® MRI Markers are implanted alongside the brachytherapy seeds and allows each one to be precisely localized on a single MRI procedure, which happens after the implant.
The promise of MRI in brachytherapy is to increase the therapeutic ratio of the treatment, leading to a cure through the delivery of cancer killing doses of radiation to the tumor that is equivalent to surgically removing the prostate, at the same time reducing the impact of radiation on the surrounding anatomy.
Without MRI, the old way of assessing brachytherapy seed placement is performed with Computed Tomography (CT), which uses a computer to process x-ray images of the prostate. While CT can image the seeds, its ability to show their exact position in relation to the prostate and surrounding organs is inferior to MRI. Consequently, the precision offered by MARS™ with Sirius® MRI Markers cannot be achieved with CT alone.
Piedmont Hospital has been collaborating with the MD Anderson Cancer Center in the development and adoption of MARS™. A recent research paper authored by the two teams, and published in the International Journal of Radiation, Biology and Physics, demonstrates how the benefits of MARS™ utilizing the Sirius® MRI Marker can be delivered in an excellent community hospital like Piedmont.
At Piedmont Hospital we believe our prostate cancer patients deserve to be offered the same cutting edge technologies available to patients at major cancer centers. With MARS™ and Sirius® we're doing exactly that!