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Breast Cancer Patients May Have a New Treatment Option When Cancer Spreads
Date:2/22/2009

New procedure could offer a safer, more convenient treatment for spine tumors

LAS VEGAS, Feb. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For orthopaedic researcher Joyce Keyak, Ph.D., finding ways to battle breast cancer is a personal as well as a professional mission. Her cousin died from the disease several years ago. Dr. Keyak still remembers the incredible pain her cousin experienced when the cancer spread to her spine. A new study released by Dr. Keyak and her colleagues at the University of California, Irvine, shows patients whose breast cancer metastasizes to their spines may have a better option than the usual treatment, which can include up to 10 sessions of radiation therapy. The study looked at alternative -- injecting radioactive bone cement into the vertebral body -- with promising results.

The UCI researchers collaborated with a colleague from St. Jude Heritage Medical Group in Fullerton, Calif., to investigate this technique. Dr. Keyak is presenting the team's findings in the paper "Feasibility of Using Radioactive Bone Cement to Treat Vertebral Metastases" during the 55th Annual Meeting of the Orthopaedic Research Society, Feb. 22-25, 2009, in Las Vegas.

"With further development, this technology may yield a clinically feasible procedure that would eliminate the need for 10 radiation therapy sessions, making it more convenient for the patient," says Dr. Keyak, an associate professor in UCI's department of orthopaedic surgery. "This procedure would also deliver a higher dose to the bone metastases and a lower dose to the spinal cord and other normal tissues than conventional external beam radiation therapy, potentially improving the clinical outcome," she explains. "The negligible dose to the spinal cord would also make it possible to treat recurrent spinal tumors in patients who have already received the maximum allowable radiation dose to the spinal cord."

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SOURCE Orthopaedic Research Society
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