New experimental treatment believed to have ‘cured’ man of advanced prostate cancer

An early trial of a new therapy for prostate cancer is believed to have cured one participant’s advanced prostate cancer by ‘shocking’ the tumour with high levels of testosterone.

This is a novel treatment give that testosterone has been conventionally seen as ‘fuel’ for prostate cancer, and as such some treatments involve reducing levels of testosterone or its effects in patients.  However, the treatment being trialed involves three cycles of “bipolar androgen therapy”, which “involves alternately flooding and starving the body of…testosterone”, as reported by the Telegraph.  47 participants with advanced prostate cancer were involved in the trial run by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the US, with many showing improvements following the treatment.  While the researchers said that they were unclear on how the treatment was working, the study lead Professor Denmeade said cancer cells under this treatment “become like old men who sit around and tell stories but don’t make much trouble”.

To be clear, this treatment is under trial, so the research is a long way off proving that this will definitely be beneficial to, or even cure men with prostate cancer.  Clinical trials are lengthy, evidence-based undertakings, and verified results can take years to emerge.  Like all trials, this study is also focused on a small subset of patients, in this case of men whose cancer had become resistant to another treatment.  However, this news does suggest this is treatment may be one of “many exciting new lines of attack against prostate cancer”, according to Dr Matt Hobbs, Deputy Director of Research at Prostate Cancer UK.

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