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New ‘magic bullet’ prostate cancer therapy delivers promising results

Gabriella Rogers

Australian doctors are witnessing promising results of a new therapy for men with prostate cancer who’ve tried everything to stop their disease from spreading.

 

The treatment, known as theranostics, offers a more targeted way of mapping and killing cancer cells.

Pivotal to the emerging science is the German discovery of small molecules that are able to latch onto the surface of prostate cancer cells called prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) receptors.

“I call it a tsunami of change for prostate cancer,” Associate Professor Louise Emmett, a nuclear medicine specialist at Sydney’s St Vincent’s Public Hospital, said.

“It has completely changed the way we diagnose prostate cancer in a lot of men and now it’s changing the way we treat them at this very end stage of the disease.”

Boris Kogan, 76, exhausted all treatments, including chemotherapy, after the disease spread to his liver and lungs.

Mr Kogan was eligible for the trial and received injections of a radioactive agent called Lutetium 177, which is bound to a PSMA molecule. This allows it to seek and destroy prostate tumours.

Highly specific PET imaging then gives doctors a birds-eye view of the results.

Mr Kogan’s son-in-law Arthur said the tumours were “disappearing in front of our eyes, it was like science fiction”.

Doctors are equally impressed by the results.

“It’s like a magic bullet,” Dr Emmett said.

“It goes for the target and it stays there, concentrates there and kills those cells.

“Half of the men who get this treatment have a very good response.”

St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney and Melbourne’s Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre are collaborating on trials for the new therapy.

Dr Emmett and her colleagues recently published a review of the current evidence in the Journal of Medical Radiation Sciences.

She said a third of patients on the therapy will get a dry mouth, while some experience nausea.

Mr Kogan said he experienced no issues with the treatment, compared to the gruelling side-effects of chemotherapy.

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among men in the western world and it accounts for about 25 percent of all new male cancer cases in Australia.

Dr Emmett said the future of theranostics was bright and she was confident the technology could be used on patients with other cancers.

“We’d definitely be moving with this technology into other cancers, once we find the appropriate receptor,” Dr Emmett said.
Read more at http://www.9news.com.au/health/2017/05/17/19/29/new-prostate-cancer-therapy-delivers-promising-results#WtBRuLRPRly1yqOR.99

source: http://www.9news.com.au/health/2017/05/17/19/29/new-prostate-cancer-therapy-delivers-promising-results

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