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More targeted treatment for prostate cancer increases life expectancy
A groundbreaking new form of treatment could now give new hope to thousands of men with incurable prostate cancer. A so-called search and destroy treatment method significantly increases the life expectancy of affected patients.
A recent study found that a special treatment method can significantly increase the lifespan of male patients with incurable prostate cancer. The results of the study were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
Treatment targets specific protein
The new treatment first identifies a protein that is expressed on the surface of prostate cancer cells and then attacks it. One in five men lived for almost three years after such targeted radiation therapy. Experts called this a huge breakthrough. The method is based on imaging methods that are used to examine tumors in order to plan further treatment. The treatment uses a radioactive isotope that binds to and attacks a protein on the surface of malignant cells without damaging the surrounding tissue. The researchers are confident that this form of treatment can lead to permanent remission. If the results of further tests are positive, this will fundamentally change the treatment of prostate cancer, Professor Arun Azad from the Peter Mac Cancer Center in Melbourne, who is involved in follow-up tests, explains in a press release.
How exactly did the treatment work?
In the UK alone, about half of the 10,000 men diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer each year could benefit from the treatment. Ultimately, treatment could also be offered to patients at an earlier stage of the disease. This would benefit thousands of other men from the treatment. The recent study of 50 men by Australian researchers showed that the treatment's survival increased from nine to more than 13 months. Every fifth patient lived almost three years later. With such a disease, life expectancy of only nine months is normal.
More targeted radiation reduces side effects
The groundbreaking new technology has only recently been offered privately in Great Britain, and is already being used more frequently in Australia and Germany. Therapy includes up to six treatments every six to eight weeks. The idea behind the treatment is that targeted radiation of the cancer cells destroys them everywhere in the body, but the healthy tissue is only minimally damaged. Patients who found normal radiation therapy extremely stressful said that they had had no side effects at all since targeted radiation therapy. They also only had to stay in the clinic for less than four hours for the treatment. Since the treatment is targeted, only the cancer cells are fought directly.
Enzalutamide drug is effective against prostate cancer
Another study by researchers from Australia and New Zealand found that earlier treatment of men with incurable prostate cancer with the drug enzalutamide could reduce the likelihood of early death by a third. Currently, however, the drug is only recommended by the NHS if hormone treatment has previously failed. The results of this study were published in the English language journal "The New England Journal of Medicine". (as)