Prostate cancer immune system drug results could be ‘spectacular’

African-American men with prostate cancer show stronger response to hormone therapy | News-Medical

Thanks to a new immunotherapy treatment, the men who just had a few weeks or months to live after getting diagnosed with prostate cancer could now survive for longer, a latest trail results showed.

A new study conducted by the Institute of cancer research and the Royal Marsden hospital in London has shown awesome results in patients with prostate cancer.

"Our study has found that immunotherapy can benefit a subset of men with advanced, otherwise untreatable prostate cancer, and these are most likely to include patients who have specific DNA fix mutations within their tumours", said Johann de Bono, Director of the Drug Development Unit at the Institute of Cancer Research. The recent research focused on the tumor genetics and inferred that a particular group of the prostate cancer patients might be benefited with the current immunotherapy.

In addition, he said, "This research shows that by providing equal access to treatment, we can reduce racial disparities in outcomes for men with advanced prostate cancer". They have very short life spans left."Professor Johann de Bono is the director of the drug development cell".

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While only 5% of men in the trial saw their tumours shrink or disappear after treatment, many of those had mutations in genes involved in repairing DNA in their tumours.

According to ASCO expert Dr. Robert Dreicer, "This study adds to the growing body of evidence showing that black men with advanced prostate cancer who participate in clinical trials have the same, if not better, chances of survival as white men".

Further trials will be needed before the drug, already licensed for certain types of skin cancer, lung cancer and lymphoma, is approved for routine clinical use in prostate cancer. It is an IgG4 isotype antibody that blocks a protective mechanism of cancer cells, and allows the immune system to destroy those cancer cells. With regard to patients' definitive prostate cancer treatment, 186 (94%) patients had undergone radical prostatectomy (RP) and the remaining 11 (6%) received external beam radiation therapy (EBRT).

Only around 20% of cancer patients respond to immunotherapy and researchers do not fully understand why.

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However, the therapy will not work for most patients.

If patients who can respond to immunotherapy are identified, some of them may be able to avoid treatments that come with unwanted side effects. This study should serve as a call for the entire cancer research community to make trials much more inclusive.

"One of the major challenges with immunotherapy is that we don't have many reliable tests to pick out who will benefit", Workman said.

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