Promising Results of a Pilot Trial at Sheba to Test New Palliative Care Techniques
There is a pressing need for new approaches to pain management that do not involve the risky realm of addictive opioids and nerve blocks. In response, a clinical trial to test a new palliative care technique for patients with upper abdominal cancer is underway at Sheba Medical Center – and the significant results are encouraging.
Dr. Yaacov Lawrence
“Palliative care is so incredibly important for our patients,” said Dr. Yaacov Lawrence, Director of the Center for Translational Radiation Oncology at Sheba. “It improves their quality of life and gives them tremendous hope. We are thrilled with the results of this pilot and are eager to keep moving forward so that we can help as many patients as possible find relief.”
The innovative technique, celiac plexus radiosurgery, involves targeting a single dose of radiation at the celiac plexus – nerves located behind the pancreas at the 12th thoracic vertebrae. Over 80% of the participants in the first phase of the trial reported substantial reductions in pain, and one-third of the participants claimed that all their pain was resolved.
The Sheba study is testing the efficacy and safety of this palliative therapy, and it has attracted much attention. Within the first year, over 23 patients enrolled in the trial. Currently, 100 patients have enrolled in the next phase of the Celica Plexus Radiosurgery Clinical Trial, which will be conducted by Dr. Lawrence, Dr. Tikva Meron, RN PhD, and their Tel Aviv team in conjunction with researchers from London, Philadelphia, Ohio, and Toronto. The trial, which is funded by Gateway for Cancer Research, will also expand to additional medical centers in North America, Europe, and the Middle East.