SUN was established by academics and clinical experts in the UK in 2014 in response to Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT) with radioactive yttrium-90 microspheres becoming available to patients with cancer via national health service commissioning.
The cooperation amongst cancer specialists, radiologists, medical physicists and other professionals involved in delivering this highly specialist service has been valuable in improving the treatment of patients with cancer. It is hoped that the expansion of The Network to include professionals from Belgium, Spain and Italy will further enhance that cooperation and mutual sharing of best practice.
Members of the network work in a variety of clinical disciplines, such as oncology, interventional radiology, imaging, nuclear medicine, medical physics, pathology and surgery. SUN is unique in bringing together these diverse specialists in a meaningful way to share best practice, clinical experiences, patient information and to organise training masterclasses and workshops.
The Network is open to all clinicians and scientists involved with delivering SIRT treatment to patients.
There are currently six major clinical trials ongoing, SIRFLOX, FOXFIRE, FOXFIRE Global, SARAH, SORAMIC and SIRveNIB. Collectively, these represent the largest clinical trials of interventional oncology ever undertaken. These clinical trials are assessing SIRT using SIR-Spheres microspheres in the treatment of primary liver cancer and metastatic colorectal cancer. The outcomes of several of these clinical trials will be presented in 2017 and 2018, at which time they are likely to change the international standard of care for liver-directed therapies.
Speaking at the Launch Event for the expansion of the Network today, Professor Ricky Sharma, Professor of Radiation Oncology at University College London, said:
“This is a very exciting time for SUN. As a web-based network, we have been delighted at how much interest SUN has generated amongst professionals from a variety of disciplines in Europe, who are now motivated to come together to share best practice for their patients. Our common purpose is to improve treatment for patients with cancer, with SIRT and other interventional oncology therapies. I am very excited about being able to share working knowledge, best practice and clinical outcomes with my colleagues from the UK, Belgium, Spain and Italy. We will all learn from each other.
If this expansion is successful in our ability to improve treatment for patients with cancer, SUN is likely to expand to other countries in which interest has been expressed to join this international network.”
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SIRT, also called “Radioembolisation”, is a method of treating malignant liver tumours, whether those tumours originate from the liver itself, or have spread to the liver from elsewhere in the body (e.g. bowel cancer).
Millions of little resin or glass “beads” are injected into the arteries inside the liver. The microspheres are tiny and too small to see with the naked eye. Each microsphere is much smaller than the width of a human hair.
These microspheres contain a radioactive isotope which emits radiation that travels only a very short distance within the liver. Once injected, the microspheres lodge in the vessels that supply the tumour and emit radiation, which kills the tumour cells.
The microspheres also help to cut off the blood supply to the tumours, thus starving them of oxygen and essential nutrients. Although the radiation lasts for a period of days, the treatment effect on the tumour can last much longer.
About the SIRT Users’ Network (SUN)
SUN has an academic focus, and is independent of commissioning and service considerations. The SUN website has a secure “members' only” discussion forum to allow clinicians to hold private and secure exchanges of views on all aspects of the SIRT procedure and clinical issues. The site also provides freely available resources for clinicians and patients.
All the members of The SUN Users’ Network are involved in the treatment of cancer patients with SIRT.
The remit of the Network is to:
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