Prostate Cancer In The News

by Jane Ashley

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in men, except for skin cancer. Almost 200,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year in the US. If prostate cancer is detected early, local or regional stage, the 5-year survival rate is almost 100%. There are an estimated 3 million prostate cancer survivors. 

Prostate Cancer Awareness

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month so this is a good time to take a look at news about prostate cancer during 2020.
Tolmar Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Increases Production of ELIGARD®

Leuprolide acetate is used in palliative care treatment of advanced prostate cancer. In mid-July, 2020, the FDA announced that several forms of leuprolide acetate were on backorder and not available.

Tolmar Pharmaceuticals announced on August 10, 2020 that it was increasing production of ELIGARD® (a form of leuprolide acetate) and confirmed that it has the capacity to fulfill future needs.

Researchers Find that Cryotherapy Is Effective for Intermediate-Risk Prostate Cancer

UCLA researchers reported on June 30, 2020 that cryotherapy is an effective treatment for men with Grade 2 prostate cancer. Cryotherapy is an older technique that utilizes extremely cold temperatures to freeze cancer cells, resulting in the death of the cancer cells.

UCLA treated 61 men, diagnosed with intermediate prostate cancer, with cryotherapy. At both six and eighteen months later, 80% of these men had no sign of cancer.

Cryotherapy is not yet widely available, and further studies are planned for this less-invasive treatment.

Large Study Shows that African-American Men Have Genetic Differences within Their Tumors
African-American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer than men of other races. Until now, little was known about why black men were more likely to have prostate cancer. One in six African-American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. They are twice more likely to die from prostate cancer than other men.

African American Prostate Cancer

A large study conducted at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), UC San Francisco (UCSF), and Northwestern University identified genetic differences but also discovered genetic similarities between men of European descent and African-American descent.

The researchers found that the newly-released PARP inhibitors should be equally effective for African-American men as for men of European descent. Although African-American men have genetic differences, the researchers pointed out the need to include African-Americans in molecular studies to understand any racial differences that occur.

New Guidelines Announced for Advanced Prostate Cancer

The American Urological Association (AUA), American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) and Society of Urologic Oncology (SUO) announced new guidelines for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer on June 25, 2020.

Since more than 33,000 men die annually from advanced prostate cancer, new guidelines that reflect new advances in treatment are significant and can lead to improved quality of life and a longer life.

These guidelines can be seen here. NOTE: There are 38 new guidelines. Many of these are rather complex, but for patients who want to become familiar with their options if they have metastatic prostate cancer, this is an excellent reference.

New Vaccine Offers Hope for Men with Advanced Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer Illustration

ImmunSYS announced in June 2020 that their YourVaccx is showing promise for a personalized treatment of advanced prostate cancer. YourVaccx, when approved, will activate the patient’s body to fight their prostate cancer. More testing and trials are needed, but the future is coming. The vaccine works in two steps: first, a portion of the tumor is killed by a cryosurgical surgical technique and releases molecules to the outside of the tumor, activating the body’s immune system to attack the tumor. Then three immunotherapy agents are injected into that tumor to boost the actions of the patient’s immune system against their cancer. This vaccine is being tested in clinical trials.

WhatNext?

We, as patients, don’t often realize how much research is being conducted while we are in treatment to improve outcomes for all patients. The future is being shaped now through research and clinical trials.

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