In July, 2008, British researchers claimed to have won a major victory for prostate cancer treatment. According to recently release reports, a new drug, abiraterone, may be used to treat as many as 80% of patients suffering from advanced forms of prostate cancer.
Researchers worldwide involved in the treatment of prostate cancer are cautiously optimistic, and welcoming what may arguably be the best news in prostate cancer treatment research in the past 15 years. It is thought that larger clinical studies now need to be conducted to determine important side effects of the new drug’s use, as well as the level of its benefits versus the possible drawbacks of the drug treatment.
Abiraterone is a drug manufactured by Cougar Biotechnology Incorporated, and currently being investigated for use in treatment of prostate cancer. It works to block the production of testosterone, which enhances the growth and development of prostate cancer, by inhibiting an enzyme involved in the formation of testosterone.
In drug trials of abiraterone, it appears that the drug may reduce the levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA), as well as shrink prostate cancer tumors. It is currently being tested on 1,200 men worldwide.
In the trials of the new drug conducted at the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden Hospital in Britain, the symptoms of prostate cancer occurring in patients with advanced stages and/or with untreatable forms of the disease have shown significant regression. The news offers hope for thousands of men who contract prostate cancer worldwide each year.
Prostate cancer is usually diagnosed in men in the later life stages. The disease often has few symptoms early on, which is a contributing factor to its reaching advanced stages before being detected.
By the time men reach the ages of 40 (higher risk) or 50, it is recommended that they receive annual prostate checkups. Annual checkups should include both physical exams as well as blood tests, to effectively screen for the disease.
The American Cancer Society estimates 186,320 new cases, and 28,660 deaths will result from prostate cancer in the US in 2008. The Society further states that prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men in the nation.
One in six men will get prostate cancer in his lifetime, while one in thirty-five men will die from the disease. Death from prostate cancer is currently on the decline, a fact thought to be due to advances in prostate cancer treatment and early detection.