NEW: ‘Spectacular’ breakthrough
Drugs that boost the immune system have saved the lives of some terminal prostate cancer patients, say UK doctors. The team at the Institute of Cancer Research and London’s Royal Marsden Hospital said the results of a trial were “spectacular” and a “big deal”. But the therapy will not work for most patients. Cancer Research UK said the next step was to predict who would respond. And the NHS is preparing to fast-track a âgame-changingâ cancer treatment, its chief executive has said, calling for the makers to make it affordable. Simon Stevens said CAR-T therapy, licensed in the US, could be approved for use in the UK this year. The expensive treatments work by genetically engineering the immune systemâs killer T-cells to recognise and destroy cancer cells. The US cost is far in excess of the normal NHS ceiling of ÂŁ50,000 for a lifesaving drug (Apr ’18). And a highly accurate and reliable technique for diagnosing prostate cancer is reported by a Dundee University-based team. Also a groundbreaking study has uncovered why some cancers are more deadly than others, despite appearing identical (Apr â18).
Breath test for cancer being tried out
A Cancer Research UK-funded scientist from the MRC Cancer Unit at Cambridge University is leading a trial thatâs looking to form a potential cancer test using personâs breath (Feb ’19). The report can be seen here.Â And Professor Paula Mendes hopes to make identifying aggressive cancers more accurate. The professor, who was awarded a Prostate Cancer UK Research Innovation Award, is developing a blood test to identify different forms of the PSA protein that are linked to more aggressive cancers. See more here
Aggressive cancer test sought
Birmingham University researchers have received a grant worth over ÂŁ275,000 from Prostate Cancer UK. Their aim is to help develop a new test to accurately show how aggressive a manâs prostate cancer is in order to help identify the best treatment for each individual (Jan â19). See here
Bid to save sexual potency
A technique is being trialled in London to reduce the risk of men losing their sexual potency from prostate cancer surgery.Â The next stage, due to start in January â19, is to secure funding to recruit up to 400 patients and expand the trial to Bristol and Sheffield. See here.
‘Virtual tumour’ new way to see cancer
Scientists in Cambridge have built a virtual reality 3D model of cancer, providing a new way to look at the disease (Dec â18).
Stampede trial a success
Radiotherapy could extend thousands of lives, the Stampede study found. The trial, based at the Medical Research Councilâs clinical trials unit at University College London, dealt with men with locally-advanced cancer (Oct â18). See here
Drug beats aggressive cancer
Men with aggressive drug-resistant prostate cancer could see their tumours eradicated by a new treatment using a drug called pembrolizumab, which is already used in lung cancer treatment (Sept ’18). See here
Two trials ‘destroy cancer’
Drug gets body cells to ‘eat and destroy’ cancer. The US team behind the study hope to begin human trials within a few years. See. And US researchers have found a way to clear cancer in mice with immune-system stimulating injections. A report in the Science Translational Medicine Journal shows promise in terms of destroying tumours. The new approach is a form of immunotherapy. See here.
Radiotherapy visit cut
Men diagnosed with prostate cancer may potentially benefit form âradical radiotherapyâ that delivers treatment in five visits, a clinical trial led by researchers from Queenâs University Belfast has shown. Usually, 37 visits are necessary for the course of radiotherapy, however this trial used an advanced treatment called âSABRâ (Stereotactic Ablative Body Radiotherapy), which uses high doses per treatment and is highly accurate in targeting certain cancers (Aug ’18). See here.
New metastatic PCa method demonstrated
A new method for detection and visualisation of metastatic prostate cancer not previously visible with conventional and molecular imaging techniques is demonstrated (Aug ’18) on YouTube here
Aggressive cancer breakthrough
US scientists have mapped out the DNA sequences of over 100 types of aggressive prostate cancer tumours. Some of the more aggressive ones are usually able to evade hormone treatment but the new findings help isolate the genetic mutations they carry which let them do this (July ’18). See here
New imaging method revealed
A new prostate cancer imaging method â PSMA-PET â for detecting sites of prostate cancer recurrence was reported at the 2018 American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting. The results from a study will be submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration, and may result in approval of this new imaging method in the near future (Jun â18).
Prostate surgery set to be revolutionised
Tiny remote-controlled âscalpelsâ could revolutionise cancer surgery in five to 10 years. The first disease it is hoped to target is prostate cancer. The technique, researched at University College London, would be safer and less invasive than present methods. It combines the use of an MRI scanner and a tiny metal ball which is steered to to the tumour using the scannerâs magnetic field. Once, there, radio waves heat it up to destroy the cancer (Jun â18).
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 (Apr ’18). See. And a test that can detect trace levels of tumour cells in the blood could help spot early signs of treatment not working for men on abiraterone for advanced prostate cancer (Jul ’18). See here
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 the charity with ÂŁ2.7m. See. A US study found a link between brisk walking and lowered risk of prostate cancer progression. See here.
Tumour aggressive or harmless?
AÂ genetic breakthrough could spare thousands of men from needless prostate surgery and radiotherapy. Scientists have found a gene that determines whether a tumour is aggressive or relatively harmless â potentially paving the way for a blood test that will accurately forecast whether it could become deadly. (Sept ’18). See here
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
Brisk walking ‘lowers risk’
A US study found a link between brisk walking and lowered risk of prostate cancer progression. 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
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
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.
Genetic variants which increase risk
The UK Genetic Prostate Cancer Study collects blood DNA samples from over 300 UK centres and is the leading effort to find genetic variants which increase prostate cancer risk. This study will last about another 7 years. It has made 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.