University Introduces SpaceOAR for Prostate Cancer Treatment

Sept. 2, 2016 (AUGUSTA, GA) – University Hospital is helping to pioneer a new tool proven to protect prostate cancer patients from the negative effects of radiation therapy. Prostate cancer patients can be injected with SpaceOAR hydrogel, the first FDA-cleared spacing device to protect the rectum in men undergoing radiation therapy for prostate cancer. SpaceOAR System is intended to temporarily position the anterior rectal wall away from the prostate during radiotherapy for prostate cancer, creating space to protect the rectum from radiation exposure. University Hospital is the first treatment center in Augusta and one of the first centers nationwide to adopt the advanced technology.

 “Creating space between the prostate and rectum is an important advance that significantly protects the rectum during radiation treatments and reduces the likelihood of side effects,” said Bryon Dasher, M.D., a radiation oncologist who practices at University Hospital. “Men facing prostate cancer may have some difficult decisions to make, but utilizing SpaceOAR hydrogel during radiation therapy should not be one of them.”

Because of the close proximity of the prostate to the rectum, prostate radiation therapy typically results in some radiation hitting the rectum, which can sometimes cause side effects. The SpaceOAR System creates space and pushes the rectum away from the prostate and the high dose area. Placed through a small needle, the hydrogel is administered as a liquid, but quickly solidifies into a soft gel that expands the space between the prostate and rectum. The hydrogel spacer maintains this space until radiation therapy is complete. The spacer then liquefies and is absorbed and cleared from the body in the patient’s urine.

“When I first learned about SpaceOAR hydrogel, I knew immediately that I wanted it to be part of my radiation therapy treatment since I was already diagnosed with ulcerative colitis,” said Howard Cook of Millen. “This technology created enough space that my condition was aggravated at all. I feel great now.”


According to the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute, prostate cancer is second only to skin cancer as the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men with an estimated 220,800 new cases and 27,540 deaths in the U.S. in 2015 alone. Worldwide, prostate cancer is expected to grow to 1.7 million new cases and 499,000 deaths by 2030.

FDA clearance was granted following completion of the SpaceOAR System prospective, multicenter, randomized clinical trial. SpaceOAR patients experienced a significant reduction in rectal radiation dose and severity of late rectal toxicity when compared to control patients who did not receive SpaceOAR hydrogel. The full pivotal clinical trial results have been published in the peer-reviewed Red Journal.