The experiential treatment cured prostate cancer in patients with weeks to live
New treatment, making use of chemically-engineered molecules, shows miraculous results in case of prostate cancer patients with only weeks or months to live. The molecules, knows as prostate specific membrane antigens, act as Trojan horses that get inside the cancerous cells and release nuclear energy, which destroys tumors. Thirty men with low chances of surviving were administered the treatment that completely destroyed cancer cells.
Lead author Professor Giovanni Paganelli, from the European Institute of Oncology, said: ‘This is true, targeted medicine, non-toxic and effective. If it works in late-stage disease, it is likely to work better at an earlier stage and this is the direction we now want to take.’
The groundbreaking treatment was presented at the International Conference of Clinical Oncology in Paralimni, Cyprus and it could have potential in treating brain, thyroid and kidney cancers. What is especially comforting about this form of treatment is that the side effects are minimal. Although it might sound dangerous, a nuclear treatment at the cancer cell level will only deliver a tiny amount of energy that will not be able to cause severe side effects, according to Professor Paganelli. The next step for this research is to apply treatment to early cases of prostate cancer, which should generate an even greater success and lower chances of remission.
Prostate cancer treatment is still a subject of debate in the US
According to cancer.gov, there will be 164,690 new prostate cancer cases among the US male population in 2018, with an approximate of 30,000 deaths. Men face a 11.2% risk of developing this type of cancer, sometime during their lifetime, with chances being even higher for African-American men or those with a genetic predisposition. In 2015, there were more than 3 million men living with the disease in the United States alone. Advancements in medical treatment, such as the one mentioned above, have increased the chances of survival, especially for patients that detect the disease in the early stages, where the cancer hasn’t had the chance to spread. The 5-year survival rate for localized prostate cancer is 100%.
There are multiple options for treatment of the disease, each having its own implication. There is a general acceptance that, if the cancer is detected in the early stages, when it’s confined in the prostate, shows no symptoms and the patients is over 60-70 years old, the course of action is to adopt a policy of “watchful waiting” or “active surveillance”. The side effects of applying a more aggressive form of treatment could be more harmful than the cancer itself, for these patients. If the cancer is detected in patients of a younger age, who have more time for the disease to develop or a history of prostate cancer in their family, the overall course of action is treatment. Most common forms of treatment include prostatectomy – complete removal of the prostate, which can be performed during open surgery, laparoscopic or with the help of the DaVinci robot; radiation therapy (beam radiation, cryotherapy, CyberKnife) or hormone therapy, also called androgen suppression therapy or androgen deprivation therapy.
Most doctors recommend men to take the PSA test once every year, above the age of 50, to maintain the prostate under control and detect unusual changes in its size.