Light therapy promises big change for early treatment of prostate cancer

Almost half of patients involved in a clinical trial went into complete remission following new treatment for localised prostate cancer called vascular-targeted photodynamic therapy (VTP).

As reported by Medical News Today, the clinical trial was run by Professor Mark Emberton at University College London and colleagues, and published in The Lancet Oncology.  413 men with early stage prostate cancer participated in the trial, with half receiving the new VTP treatment, which involves the injection of a light-sensitive drug called WST11.  When activated by laser light, the drug destroys prostate cancer cells.  49% of the patients treated found that their prostate cancer went into complete remission.  For the patients treated with VTP but whose cancer did not go into remission, this treatment also appeared to reduce the need for surgical treatment, as well as slow the progression of the cancer.

Professor Emberton described the results as “truly a huge leap forward for prostate cancer treatment.”  VTP is currently being reviewed by the European Medicines Agency, but it is likely be a number of years before the treatment is available to patients.

If you would like more information about prostate cancer and treatments, please see sources such as NHS Choices or Prostate Cancer UK.