Bursting the bubble on prostate cancer

What you need to know

  • Even if prostate cancer is caught early and treated, there is a chance it can come back. The treatments we have for prostate cancer at this stage aren’t always effective.
  • Professor John Callan from Ulster University has found that a combination of chemotherapy and a new ultrasound treatment could be used to treat prostate cancer that has returned.
  • In this project, he’s testing a novel way to deliver the treatments that could be used to kill returned prostate cancer and minimise side effects.
We’re thrilled to have found a brand-new combination treatment that could offer men a new treatment after current techniques have stopped working.
Professor Callan

Stopping prostate cancer that has come back

After men are treated for localised prostate cancer, there is still a chance the cancer can come back. If this happens, treatments like surgery and radiotherapy can be used to contain the cancer, but these aren’t always effective.

Professor Callan and his team have found a new combination of treatments, and a unique way to deliver them, they believe can help control prostate cancer that has come back after initial treatments.

Bursting the bubble on prostate cancer

Part of Professor Callan’s new treatment involves the use of chemotherapy drugs. The drugs s are effective at killing the prostate cancer, but can have harmful side effects. To get around this, he’s developed a way to package up the drugs in microscopic packets – called microbubbles. The microbubbles are designed to burst when they come into contact with ultrasound waves, similar to those used to image babies in the womb. So by combining his chemotherapy ‘bubbles’ with the ultrasound treatment, a toxic dose can be delivered just to the cancer, without causing side effects in the rest of the body.

Building evidence to test the treatment in men

In this project, Professor Callan and his team will continue to develop their microbubble drug delivery system, and test it in models of prostate cancer. They’ll look to see how effective the treatment is at killing the prostate cancer, and whether it’s better than existing treatments for prostate cancer that has come back. They’ll also investigate the safety of the treatment. This work will help them build a case to test their new treatment in men with prostate cancer

Grant information

Reference - RIA18-ST2-003
Researcher -
 Professor John Callan
Institution -  University of Ulster