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Research could change course of treatment for cancer that spreads to bones
Date:8/17/2010

New research holds promise for the thousands of people whose cancer has spread to their bones.

A common treatment for such patients is radiation surgery even though very little is known about radiosurgery's impact on bone strength, says Edmond Richer, associate professor of engineering at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Researchers now hope to conclusively establish the effects of radiation on human bone under a $596,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health. The 15-month grant will look at cervical fractures that sometimes occur six to eight months after stereotactic radiosurgery, called SRS, in patients with vertebral metastases.

SMU and UT Southwestern researchers

The researchers include Richer, the Robert C. Womack Endowed Chair of mechanical engineering and founder of the Biomedical Instrumentation and Robotics Laboratory in SMU's Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering; and Paul Medin, John Anderson and Joseph Zerwekh, professors at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. For links to more information about the research see www.smuresearch.com and http://tiny.cc/yl80r.

The research, under a grant from NIH's Neurological Disorders and Stroke Institute, could transform treatment for patients with cancer metastases in the bone, as well as for millions with other bone diseases, such as osteoporosis, Richer says. According to the American Osteoporosis Foundation, an estimated 10 million Americans have the disease and 34 million more are at risk of developing it.

High fracture rate post-radiosurgery

Vertebral metastases occur in approximately 100,000 cancer patients annually, most of whom have major lung, breast, prostate, renal and myeloma malignancies, Richer says. SRS, considered a noninvasive procedure for treating spinal tumors, requires highly sophisticated instruments that deliver a precise
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Contact: Margaret Allen
mallen@smu.edu
214-768-7664
Southern Methodist University
Source:Eurekalert

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