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advanced prostate cancer

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An immunotherapy drug can be effective in some men with advanced prostate cancer, a major trial has shown.

The phase II clinical trial, led by the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden, involved 258 men with advanced prostate cancer who had run out of all other options on treatment.

The men had stopped responding to the main treatment options.

According to researchers, a small proportion of men, described as “super responders”, remained well even after the trial ended, despite a very poor prognosis before treatment.

Last week it was reported the same drug had proved effective in treating advanced head and neck cancers.

Immunotherapy uses our own immune systems to recognize and attack cancer cells.

The therapy is already being used as a standard treatment for some cancers such as melanomas – and being tested on many others too.

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The study found that one in 20 men with advanced prostate cancer responded to the drug pembrolizumab – and saw their tumors actually shrink or disappear altogether.

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that although a relatively small number, some of the men gained years of extra life.

A further 19% saw some evidence of improvement.

Most patients in the study lived for an average of eight months on the drug.

The most dramatic responses were seen in patients whose tumors had mutations in genes involved in repairing DNA.

Researchers are now investigating whether this group might benefit the most from immunotherapy in a larger trial.

But first, a test to pick out who will respond best is needed, so that doctors know which patients to give it to.

The number of people diagnosed with prostate cancer has been rising over the last 10 years.

This is probably because the population is getting older and more people are having PSA tests.

Around 30% of men with advanced or stage four prostate cancer survive their cancer for five years or more after diagnosis.

Last week, a separate trial found the same drug kept some people’s advanced head and neck cancers at bay for an average of two years – five times longer than under chemotherapy.

Both studies are part of a growing body of research suggesting immunotherapy could offer hope to an increasing number of cancer patients.


A blood test that could pick out which men with advanced prostate cancer would benefit from new drug treatment olaparib has been developed.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men.

The new test detects cancer DNA in the blood, helping doctors check whether precision drugs are working.

However, larger studies involving more men needed to take place to confirm if doctors could rely on the test.

Blood samples from 49 men with advanced prostate cancer were collected by researchers, as part of the phase II clinical trial of olaparib.

This type of precision drug is seen as the future of cancer medicine but because it is a targeted treatment, the drug does not work for everyone.

Researchers from The Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust said the test could help target treatment better and also reduce its side effects.

They used the test to identify men who were not responding to the treatment in 4 to 8 weeks and also to pick up signs that the cancer was evolving and becoming resistant to the drugs.

Prof. Johann de Bono, consultant medical oncologist at the two organizations, said: “From these findings, we were able to develop a powerful, three-in-one test that could in future be used to help doctors select treatment, check whether it is working and monitor the cancer in the longer term.”

“Not only could the test have a major impact on treatment of prostate cancer, but it could also be adapted to open up the possibility of precision medicine to patients with other types of cancer,” he added.

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[googlead tip=”patrat_mediu” aliniat=”stanga”]Swedish researchers from Lund University have identified a new treatment method for the advanced prostate cancer that may attack and destroy prostate cancer stem cells.


The current common prostate cancer treatments like radiation, hormone therapy and even surgery are ineffective in completely eradicating the tumor.

However, the Swedish team is currently working on developing a new therapy that attacks prostate tumors at the root. This is great news and gives hope to those men who have received positive PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) tests for prostate cancer.


Researchers from Lund University have identified a method that may attack and destroy prostate cancer stem cells. These cells can be extremely resistant to most common treatments and if they are not completely destroyed following radiation or surgery, they can cause the cancer to return.[googlead tip=”patrat_mic” aliniat=”dreapta”]

Researchers from Lund University have identified a method that may attack and destroy prostate cancer stem cells

Researchers from Lund University have identified a method that may attack and destroy prostate cancer stem cells

According to the researchers’ statement post on the university website, the new therapy works by targeting a specific protein in prostate cancer stem cells. They found that the STAT3 protein is integral to the ability of stem cells to grow and regenerate. They also noted that the natural compound galiellalactone inhibits the activity of STAT3.


Prostate cancer that has become resistant to hormone treatment and that does not respond to radiation or chemotherapy requires new methods of treatment. By attacking stem cell-like cells in prostate cancer, researchers at Lund University are working on a project to develop a new treatment option.

A successful interdisciplinary project is underway between two research groups, in which senior researcher Rebecka Hellsten and Professor Anders Bjartell at the Faculty of Medicine’s division for Urological Cancer Research, Skåne University Hospital in Malmö, and Professor Olov Sterner and Assistant Professor Martin Johansson at the Lund University division of Organic Chemistry recently published their latest research findings in the scientific online journal PLoS ONE.

“Prostatic tumors are thought to consist only of about 0.1 per cent cancer stem cells, but if you are not successful in eradicating that tumor cell population, there is a risk of subsequent uncontrolled growth of the tumor. The cancer stem cells are often unresponsive to both hormonal treatment and to chemotherapy, so it is essential to develop a direct treatment towards all types of cancer cells”, says Anders Bjartell.

Exploring the tumor biology of prostate cancer, the research group have now observed that the protein STAT3 is active in the stem cell-like cells. In their previous studies, they have proven that the natural compound galiellalactone affects STAT3 and has inhibitory effects on the growth of prostate cancer.

Through the development of new specific STAT3-inhibitors with galiellalactone as a model, the researchers hope to develop targeted therapies that attack the stem cell-like cancer cells in prostate cancer and prevent the tumor from growing and spreading.


[googlead tip=”lista_medie” aliniat=”stanga”]The discovery is still in its very early stages. However, the researchers said they believe using this knowledge to design new pharmaceuticals could significantly improve existing prostate cancer treatments. Any treatment derived from this method would still be a number of years away.