A Melton scientist has helped discover a process which could develop into a revolutionary treatment for people suffering from cancer.
Adam Hirst (25) is conducting a PhD research project at the University of York to seek an alternative therapy to radiation for prostate cancer patients.
His study group are using low temperature plasma tissues applied, for the first time in scientific research, on cells grown directly from patient tissue samples.
The advantage of the more direct treatment being refined by Adam and his colleagues is that patients could have it instead of the current options of radiation, which can also kill healthy cells, or having their prostate removed.
Adam, a former pupil at Brownlow Primary School, John Ferneley College and King Edward VII Upper School in Melton, said: “What we have achieved so far is exciting but there is still a lot more to be done and we are nowhere near being ready to test the treatment on patients.
“It would be fantastic if it became an alternative treatment for prostate cancer patients. And there is absolutely no reason why it can’t then be used to treat other forms of cancer as well.”
The work being carried out by Adam, who is working with Dr Fiona Frame on the project, is part of a global scientific push towards finding less invasive therapies to treat cancer sufferers, where the treatment causes fewer side effects and is focused more accurately on the cancerous tissue.
His aims over the remaining year of his studies are to refine the treatment he has helped identify and work on a way of delivering it, perhaps via keyhole surgery. It estimates it will take at least 10 years to be clinically approved.
Prostate cancer kills 11,000 every year in the UK and it is the most prevalent form of cancer suffered by men.
Adam added: “We do a lot of outreach events for men who have prostate cancer so we get to see how the disease affects them. It’s incredibly rewarding to do this and it reminds you why you come into work every day.
“After I have completed my PhD I would like to stay in medical research and try to see this through so we have an alternative cancer treatment.”