According to new research published in the journal “Cell”, advanced prostate patients are see a new treatment option based upon the work of researchers who have uncovered the genetic reasons for almost 90% of tumors associated with prostate cancer; 9 out of 10 late stage prostate cancer cases can be traced back to changes in that patients DNA. Some of the DNA changes are treatable with drugs currently on the market which have been developed to treat other forms of cancer. This breakthrough has been likened to uncovering a “Rosetta Stone”, the ability to decipher the code behind prostate cancer manifesting itself in a patient.
This research was spearheaded by the London-based Institute for Cancer Research, in consort with eight different University-based Clinical Trial centers globally. Based upon this research doctors can now start testing men with advanced prostate cancer for “specific” genetic mutations now identified as being associated with prostate cancer. If they test positive treatment can begin immediately using existing drugs and drug combinations which will target those distinct mutations identified by this research.
Doctors at the London-based Institute for Cancer are describing this advance as ground breaking in terms of understanding the growth and spread of prostate cancer. They are also describing prostate cancer as many diseases strengthened by their respective gene mutations, not one disease as they had originally thought. While not papers have been published on this matter yet, one thing is for sure by understanding the reasons for mutations and attacking them with specific drugs and drug combination we could well be heading into a new day of very personalized cancer therapy.
In the United Kingdom, where the study originated, yearly rated of prostate cancer diagnosis are almost 50,000 cases, with the cancer becoming fatal in 20% of those cases as that prostate cancer reached the “advanced” stage and its spread into other parts of the body begins.
Doctors at the British National Health Services (NHS) Royal Marsden Trust and several Universities in the US conducted a joint study where the composition of 150 tumors in advance prostate cancer patients who had little chance of recovery. Almost 60% of the patients presented mutations of the molecule that reacts with hormone androgen. They also concluded that men are born with genes that mark them as being susceptible to prostate cancer. Thus pre-screening regiments can be developed to identify those men prior to them having any association with the disease.
The second stage of this research will focus on developing “personalized” treatments of patients. The genetic sequencing of tumor cells from a minimum of 500 participants will be done, and their treatment tracked.