Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Survival rates jump 80% with new treatment

Clinical trial finds drug combination that might stop metastasized prostate cancer from worsening

A new study shows that an experimental drug combo that controls hormones may halt the progression of prostate cancer.

Dr. Christopher Sweeney
Dr. Chris Sweeney
A clinical trial led by Dr. Christopher Sweeney at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, according to a story in the October-November issue of AARP Magazine, determined that survival rates could jump as much as 80 percent when the combination is used.

Sweeney's study, the AARP article notes, focused on what can happen when enzalutamide, an oral drug that blocks hormone reception, is combined with testosterone-suppressing medication. 

That study, like other research, was based on the notion that "testosterone and other male hormones can fuel the growth of cancer cells." 

What was being sought were ways "to either suppress the production of hormones or stop cells from receiving them."

Sweeney's study, the story asserts, did both.

The AARP article centered on one particular participant in the study, Dr. John Hammel, a psychiatrist who was diagnosed in 2016 with late-stage prostate cancer that had already begun to metastasize.

Hammel's quoted as saying "I was despondent — I didn't think I'd live a year."

That attitude made him, after initial skepticism, jump at the chance when his oncologist told him about the "real treatment" that was available, "not just palliative care." 

During the study, Hammel reportedly saw his PSA test numbers "drop from 2,000 to 450 to four and then to undetectable for six months" — and then stay there.

The trial, the story says, helped him start living again, "instead of focusing on his prognosis." 

For more information about clinical trials and their results, check out "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," a VitalityPress book that I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.

No comments:

Post a Comment