Miami Cancer Institute First in South Florida to Offer Gel Injections to Protect Sensitive Areas in Prostate Cancer Patients During Radiation Therapy

Marcio Fagundes, M.D., medical director of radiation oncology at Miami Cancer Institute, is the first in South Florida to provide a procedure that protects delicate tissue surrounding the prostate during radiation treatment.

“Because the prostate and the rectum are located in close proximity, there is a risk that the rectum could be damaged by radiation. When we protect the rectum we can also safely deliver a higher radiation dose, if necessary, to the prostate to kill the cancer cells. The procedure is 99 percent effective in eliminating radiation-induced injury,” Dr. Fagundes said.

Dr. Fagundes was the first to be trained to use SpaceOAR (Organs at Risk) hydrogel, which was approved by the FDA in 2015 for injection between the rectum and the prostate to act as a shield from radiation. The gel-like material remains in the body for several months, providing protection during the course of radiation treatment. Within six months, it is absorbed by the body. Dr. Fagundes has performed more than 300 procedures and trains other physicians in its use.

The first patient to be treated with the gel at Miami Cancer Institute is from the Cayman Islands and specifically chose the Institute for his radiation treatments to take advantage of Dr. Fagundes’ expertise with the technology. Conventional radiation therapy is the standard treatment for men with prostate cancer that hasn’t spread to other organs and tissues.

When Miami Cancer Institute’s Proton Therapy Center is scheduled to open late this summer, the ideal treatment for prostate cancer patients will be available: the gel, in combination with the precision targeting of proton therapy.

About Miami Cancer Institute

Baptist Health South Florida is developing Miami Cancer Institute into a destination cancer center known for its leading clinical care, exceptional patient experience, advanced clinical research and state-of-the-art technology — including the first proton therapy center in South Florida, Latin America and the Caribbean. To accelerate its mission of hope, caring and innovation, Miami Cancer Institute has joined the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Alliance, a meaningful relationship that enables patients with cancer access to potential breakthrough therapies in South Florida.