Prostate Cancer: Latest Medical Breakthroughs

Thursday, 03 Feb 2011 11:11 AM

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Prostate cancer is diagnosed by screening tests. It cannot be detected through early symptoms and the first signs appear only after the cancer has spread to other organs.
 
Once screened and confirmed, there are various treatment options for prostate cancer, including radiation, brachytherapy, hormone therapy, and removal of the gland through cryotherapy.

A number of novel therapies are being explored and researched for the treatment of prostate cancer. The most exciting new prospects have come from immunotherapies or biologics. Several breakthrough treatment options have been identified to fight this medical condition.
 
In castrate resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), androgen deprivation therapy is a prospective method of treatment for late stage metastatic cancers. However, the therapy has raised medical concerns regarding certain side effects, including the loss of sexual intent, weakness, fatigue, and bone-loss.

Another treatment for prostate cancer is the vaccine ProstVac, which targets the prostate-specific antigen in the bodies. Phase II results of clinical trial of the vaccine have revealed that the vaccine significantly improved the rate of survival among patients with metastatic CRPC by reducing the antigen count.

An interesting treatment method currently under study is the regulation of immunity check points on the cell surface. The check points control the anti-tumor response of the cells.

Ipilimumab is one such drug for which Phase II trials are underway. Dose escalated Phase I study found that there were good PSA responses in metastatic CRPC patients administered with the drug (3mg/kg dosage).

The MDX-1106 is a monoclonal antibody that targets the co-receptor on the cell that inhibits anti-tumor response known as PD-1. Phase I study results reflected a positive response from the drug in metastatic CRPC patients with mild side effects.
 
Of the commercially available therapies, the FDA has recently approved the immunotherapy known as Provenge to be sold by Dendreon Corp. It has come as a welcome alternative to chemotherapy, which is taxing and known for serious adverse effects and deterioration of the quality of life.

The HIFU Ultrasound is an interesting method for treating prostate cancer. It involves heating the cancer cell by sound waves to its lysis. This method, however, has not been approved by the FDA and the application is pending.

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