Prostate cancer incidence varies, where the rates are highest in Western and Northern Europe, because the practice of prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing and subsequent biopsy has become widespread in those regions. This screening resulted in a 21% reduction in mortality from cancer of prostate cancer over 9 years of follow-up (www.erspc.org).
However, prostate cancer is still the cause of an estimated 72 000 deaths in Europe in 2012. Therefore, prostate cancer is the fifth leading cause of death from cancer in men (source: http://globocan.iarc.fr).
Treatment of prostate cancer can be performed by
Surgery consists in removing the entire prostate
External radiotherapy (RT) involves irradiating the target volume with a particle accelerator. RT treatment takes at least 7 weeks and remains relatively hard to bear for patients.
In parallel, brachytherapy is a technique better tolerated by patients, aiming to irradiate a target volume by placing radioisotopes emitting low or high ionizing radiation in it or in its contact, only in one intervention.
Conventionally, the low-dose brachytherapy of the prostate consists on a multi-needle insertion from a guide of grid and under ultrasound imaging control. Even if the conventional technique has advantages, it presents also certain practical limits, such as: manual handling of radioactive needles that raises fears among practitioners; impotence, incontinence and trauma of patient.
The fight against cancer is an issue that concerns all cross-border countries
In addition, only few Brachytherapy centres exist in the 2 Seas region. Some resident patients move outside the 2 Seas region to get access to brachytherapy techniques.
This cooperative innovation shall contribute, in a long term perspective,
To reduce socio-economic disparity inside the 2 Seas region in the area of diagnosis and treatment of cancer
To reduce the mortality rate for prostate cancer
During the last decade, robot prototypes for brachytherapy for prostate cancer under ultrasound imaging control have been developed for needle guidance or seeds deposit. All these have not been tested on real patients, and 95% of them have been developed outside Europe.
In 2015, University of Lille with the support of SATT-Nord, developed a full autonomous robot for brachytherapy and tested on biological subjects, only compatible with ultrasound imaging. However, ultrasound imaging remains sensitive to noise, making difficult the online monitoring of targeted tumour.
Nowadays, the performances of the MRI for cancer diagnosis can be extended to the treatment. Coupling diagnosis and treatment allows optimizing the treatment plan duration. So far, the association robot-MRI for Brachytherapy and biopsy doesn’t exist, only the association of external radiotherapy with MRI is recently developed.
The 2 Seas region has complementary competences able to reach the overall objectives of the project. Without this cross-border cooperation, it is not feasible to realize this technological innovation.
Unfortunately, in the 2 Seas region, there is no company specialized in equipment for localized treatment (i.e. Brachytherapy) of prostate cancer and other soft organs.