NEW: Blood research aids cancer fight
A UK team has been able to scour the blood for signs of cancer while it was just a tiny cluster of cells invisible to X-ray or CT scans. It should allow doctors to hit the tumour earlier and increase the chances of a cure (Apr ’18). See. And US scientists have taken a step towards one of the biggest goals in medicine – a universal blood test for cancer (Apr ’18). See. Scientists have also created a skin implant they say could one day be used to help detect some of the most common cancers. It works by looking for elevated levels of calcium in the blood, which is linked to some cancers. When these levels go above a threshold, a response is triggered by the implant, leading the skin to form a brown mole (Apr ’18). See
Two big breakthroughs
The biggest leap in diagnosing prostate cancer “in decades” has been made using new advanced MRI scanners. See. Also this. But only a third of men can benefit, says Prostate Cancer UK. See. And a prostate cancer vaccine is among trailblazing research being backed by Prostate Cancer UK with ÂŁ2.7 million. See. A US study found a link between brisk walking and lowered risk of prostate cancer progression. See.
‘Cure’ for terminal cancer?
Newspaper claims that advancedÂ radiotherapy could cure nearly three in four cases of terminal prostate cancer are a little premature and have missed important points, say Prostate Cancer UK. Here they respond to the reports (Sept ’17).
Drug ‘lengthens life’
Good results are reported for the drug Apalutamide, which is under development for prostate cancer treatment. A US study found it lengthened life of men with castration-resistant cancer that had not spread (Feb ’18). See
Advanced MRI scans – a big leap
The biggest leap in diagnosing prostate cancer “in decades” has been made using new advanced MRI scanners. See. Also this. But only a third of men can benefit, says Prostate Cancer UK. See. And a US study found a link between brisk walking and lowered risk of prostate cancer progression. See.
3D printing idea for surgeons
A trial is looking at whether 3D printing can help diagnose and treat prostate and kidney cancer. The US researchers want to know if 3D models of patientsâ organs and disorders can increase the accuracy of the plans surgeons draw up before operating, to make the surgery more precise and improve outcomes (Oct ’17). See
Help with treatment
In a Radio 4 broadcast, Mark Porter reported on two landmark trials assessing when and how to treat prostate cancer (Jun ’17). Download or listen here.
Easy tracer developed
An easy-to-produce prostate cancer tracer, a substance vital for the discovery of cancers, has been developed by a Kingâs College London student (Oct ’17). See
New way to kill cancer cells claimed
Scientists say a new method of killing cancer cells might yield a much more effective treatment. See
Vaccine ‘brings new hope’
New vaccine brings hope to prostate cancer patients, a US symposium was told. The compound,Â Provenge, primes the immune system to recognise and kill cancer cells that have spread (Aug â17). See
Prostate cancer subtypes identified
Researchers have identified and validated three distinct molecular subtypes of prostate cancer that correlate with distant metastasis-free survival. This can helpÂ in future research to determine how patients will respond to treatment, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology. Findings represent a step towards the implementation of personalised medicine in prostate cancer care. See
Vaccine on trial
A new vaccine developed in the US to help prevent the recurrence of prostate cancer is being trialled to boost the immune system, it was reported in April 2015. Professor Raj Persad, of the Bristol Urological Institute, said the idea was an âexcellent strategyâ and the research looked very promising.
Urine test created
Scientists have created a urine test for prostate cancer after Bristol trials. See
Cancer and genes
There is strong evidence that certain menâs genes predispose them to prostate cancer. This has led to the development of a EU-wide targeted screening study in 18 countries.
Prostate cancer genetic code mapped
In February 2011, scientists at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University announced that they had mapped the genetic code of prostate cancer. By sequencing the genomes of sevenÂ tumours and comparing them with healthy tissue they believe they have uncovered the mutations and genetic damage that drive prostate cancer.
The UK Genetic Prostate Cancer Study collects blood DNA samples from over 300 centres in the UK and is the leading effort to find genetic variants which increase prostate cancer risk. This study will last about another 7 years. It has make considerable advances in discovering genetic variants which have led to targeted treatments.
Tumour-causing genes fused by male hormones
Scientists at the Institute of Cancer at Queen Mary University of London have found that male hormones play a key role in promoting a specific genetic change that fuels tumourÂ growth. Identifying the genes that are regulated by these hormones is a major step forward in finding new therapies. The study focused on male sex hormones called androgens, which cause genes that are normally far apart to fuse together. The team found that androgens promote the fusion of two specific genes which fuel cancer growth.
Early warning proteins discovered
Bristol University researchers have identified two âgrowth factorâ proteins present in higher levels in prostate cancer patients. The proteins normally regulate growth and development in organs and tissue, especially in the womb and during childhood.Â Dr Mari-Anne Rowlands, a cancer epidemiologist and lead author of the study, said it was too early to be certain but these results suggested they might have identified potential new biomarkers for very early prostate cancer in men with no symptoms. More research was needed.
Viagra could shrink tumours!
Lab tests on cells and mice found that when the anti-impotence drug was combined with powerful chemotherapy it not only reduced the size of tumours but also protected the heart. Prof Rakesh Kukreja, of Virginia Commonwealth University, said he was excited about the potential impact and was keen to test it in cancer patients.