A major breakthrough in treating prostate cancer is being tested in clinical trials in the U.S. The trials are taking place in several locations and feature a new, targeted treatment for prostate cancer that has spread to other areas of the body and does not responding to conventional hormone treatment.
Instead of bombarding entire areas with radiation, killing healthy cells as well as cancerous tissue, the new radiopharmaceutical therapy zeros in and destroys only the cancer cells.
Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer affecting men in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates 174,650 cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in 2019 and 31,620 people will die from the disease.
The targeted radiation approach that is being tested detects PSMA, a protein found in large concentrations on the surface of prostate cancer cells and attacks only those cells.
Researchers are using Lutetium 177, a small molecule that once it is injected into the body seeks and destroys cancer cells by binding to the Protein Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA) and delivering precise radiation therapy.
“PSMA targeted therapy is a promising new treatment for men with metastatic prostate cancer that doesn’t respond to androgen deprivation therapy,” Dr. Jonathan W. Simons, M.D., an internationally recognized physician-scientist, oncologist, and president and chief executive officer of the Prostate Cancer Foundation, tells Newsmax.
“The elegance of this approach is that the radiation can be targeted exclusively to where it is needed — at the site of the metastasis. Principally, only the prostate cancer cells with PSMA on their surfaces are destroyed and the PSMA ‘negative’ surrounding tissues are spared.”
While this type of therapy is new in the United States, it has been used in Germany where physicians can use radiopharmaceuticals to treat patients who have exhausted standard treatment care, according to Weill Cornell Medicine.
The Prostate Cancer Foundation is currently funding studies to identify which patients are good candidates for this treatment and why some patients may or may not respond to it. The sites where clinical trials are now being conducted include UCLA, UCSF, and Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, Andrea Miyahara, Ph.D., director of research at PCF tells Newsmax.
“Patients should talk to their physician about whether considering a clinical trial of PSMA therapy is appropriate for them,” she says.
Patients can also use PCF’s clinical trial finder to explore trials currently recruiting patients in the U.S. at PCF Clinical Trial Finder.
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