SCIENTISTS in Glasgow have developed a new treatment which could improve survival rates for one of the most common cancers.
A team from the University of Glasgow have developed a new way of treating head and neck cancer with targeted chemotherapy.
Usually, chemotherapy is combined with radiotherapy and is administered intravenously through a 'drip' in the arm.
This means the drugs are spread throughout a patient's whole body.
This increases the toxicity of the treatment on the whole body, putting patients at risk of fatal pneumonia and renal failure.
Engineers and scientists have developed a way of delivering chemotherapy into the arteries, concentrating in the area around the tumour and delivering less to vulnerable organs.
It is hoped this method would result in higher cure rates and fewer side-effects.
Cancer kills more than 150,000 people in the UK every year and oral/head and neck cancer is in the top 10 worldwide.
Major risk factors are tobacco and alcohol consumption.
Dr Manosh Paul said: "In inter-arterial infusion treatment, the chemotherapy dose is given to a specific artery feeding a tumour.
"Importantly, the knowledge about the chemical agent concentration in blood and the technique by which the tumours are infused are vital for a therapy success.
"Using computational fluid dynamics we investigate the effects of changes in various flow related and surgically relevant parameters to optimise the cancer dose locally at the cancer region.
"It would be also interesting to compare effectiveness of the cancer cure between the modelled intra-arterial (IA) and intra-venous (IV) treatment methods when the same dose is delivered."
Researchers believe the new treatment method could have a significant impact on cure rates, early detection and quality of life for patients incurable by conventional means, and potentially be useful to cure other cancers.
Dr Paul said: "If we can prove in the lab, and through computer modelling, that a highly customised approach is likely to be more effective then we will proceed to trials."
The research team is now working on major research proposals to secure external funding for development of the treatment.