Friday, 11 March 2016
Top 5 most recent advances in Prostate Cancer research...
1 The Complete Genomic Landscape of Prostate Cancer Mapped
PCF provided funding to the International Prostate Cancer “Dream Team,” led by Drs. Arul Chinnaiyan (University of Michigan) and Charles Sawyers (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center) to analyze the genetic profile of 150 advanced prostate cancer tumors, providing an unprecedented look at the disease. The resulting complete digital image of the disease, known as the tumor’s genomic landscape, can tell doctors precisely who to treat, and how they should be treated.
This achievement is highly significant because prostate cancer is not a single disease, and its variations are associated with a wide variety of outcomes. Using only a microscope to guide them, there is no way for doctors to match a patient to an optimal treatment. This work begins to change the paradigm of “one-size” treatment fits all.
This work will dramatically improve the care of prostate cancer patients. The Dream Team’s results mean that if a doctor were to biopsy a tumor, there would be nearly a 90% chance that there would be something treatable in its DNA. The doctor could then write a prescription for the most effective course of treatment, whether FDA-approved or experimental.
2 Resolving Health Disparities in Prostate Cancer: New Signatures Identified
In 2015, discoveries in prostate cancer genetics helped us better understand the disproportionate disease burden carried by African-American men, who are 64% more likely to develop prostate cancer than any other race or ethnicity, and 2.4 times more likely to die from the disease. A pioneering study by PCF Young Investigator Kosj Yamoah, MD, PhD (Moffitt Cancer Center) identified 6 new biomarker signatures of aggressive disease in African-American men with prostate cancer. These findings, published in the September 1 issue of Journal of Clinical Oncology, shed much-needed light on the biological factors that predispose African-American men to early, aggressive disease, and provide important targets for future drug development.
This major breakthrough carries with it a new, unanticipated problem: we don’t know the function of most of these genes. In order to address this inequality, we need to do basic science on the function of these genes. It is time to invest resources in this arena and solve this disparity for good. This major breakthrough carries with it a new, unanticipated problem: we don’t know the function of most of these genes. In order to address this inequality, we need to do basic science on the function of these genes. It is time to invest resources in this arena and solve this disparity for good.
3 Key Mechanism of Metastasis Discovered
When considering prostate cancer genomics, there is nothing more significant than identifying new vulnerabilities in the disease – targets that can be exploited with new drugs to put patients into lasting remissions. A team of researchers led by Karen Knudsen, PhD (Thomas Jefferson University) has done just that—their studies revealed that a single molecule called DNA-PK drives cancers from a slow growing, benign disease into a killer.
Under normal conditions, DNA-PK, along with half a dozen other molecules, helps to combat routine DNA damage. However, Dr. Knudsen’s team found that it also helps cancer cells evade many forms of treatment. In men with prostate cancer, they discovered, DNA-PK molecules are recruited by the androgen receptor (AR), which are responsible for feeding male hormones to tumor cells, allowing these mutated cells to survive. By identifying DNA-PK as a key mechanism of metastasis, the team’s research has enormous clinical implications with the potential to impact thousands of prostate cancer patients.
4 Landmark Trial Shows Same Drug Effective in Ovarian, Prostate Cancer
A major new trial, funded in part by PCF, has concluded that olaparib—the world’s first medicine approved for the treatment of ovarian cancer patients with BRCA1/2 defects—can also benefit men with certain types of prostate cancer. Nearly 30% of men with advanced prostate cancer harbor mutated BRCA1/2 genes. In the trial, called TOPARP-A, olaparib significantly benefited as many as one third of prostate cancer patients, including many who did not inherit these cancer genes, but whose tumors acquired these defects over time. TOPARP-A is a major milestone as it is the first study to show the benefit of precision medicine in prostate cancer.The potential benefit of prostate cancer solutions for saving lives from other cancers will soon be realized.
5 Exercise and Healthy Habits Found to Decrease Prostate Cancer Risk
Even with the most sophisticated analyses, genes alone cannot predict with complete certainty if a man will develop prostate cancer in his lifetime. This is why living a healthy lifestyle is imperative. A new study by Stacey Kenfield, ScD and June Chan, ScD (University of California San Francisco) has found that vigorous exercise and other healthy habits may cut a man’s chances of developing lethal prostate cancer by up to 68%. While we have always been aware of the benefits of exercise and nutrition, we now know that it has a direct impact on a man’s prostate health. Not only that, but the same habits that can stave off prostate cancer development and recurrence may also prevent against other age-related illnesses including heart disease and diabetes.