A London hospital’s trial of a prostate cancer drug has been stopped early because it was so successful doctors felt it would be “unethical” to deny the treatment to other patients.
Medics halted tests of the life-extending drug because it would have been “unethical” not to offer the treatment to all 922 cancer sufferers taking part in the trial.
Patients who were given the drug found that it eased pain and caused only minor side effects.
The new drug accurately targets tumours using alpha radiation, which doctors conducting the study said is the most effective form of radiation to eliminate cancer because it limits damage to surrounding tissue.
Dr Chris Parker, lead researcher on the project at the Royal Marsden Hospital, said: “It’s more damaging. It takes one, two, three hits to kill a cancer cell compared with thousands of hits for beta particles.” The drug, Radium-223 Chloride – known as Alpharadin TM – will also do less damage to surrounding tissue because it accurately targets calls, the doctors said.