New drug helping men with prostate cancer

A drug being investigated right now could prove to be a big breakthrough for men with late stage prostate cancer, especially in cases where the disease has spread to the bone.

Gino Polidori spent a lot of time restoring this classic army jeep. It's a reminder of a life spent serving in the military and as a lawmaker. This family man's most important contribution may be what he's doing right now, testing a new drug for his disease, advanced prostate cancer.

Gino Polidori, Prostate Cancer Patient, explains why he feels he needs to test the drug, "I feel it's genetic, and it's going to follow in the family tree. Here's an opportunity for them to find something to help somebody else down the road."

The experimental drug, Cabozantinib works by targeting two proteins linked to the growth and spread of prostate cancer.

In a trial of 171 men with metastatic prostate cancer, 74-percent had their tumors shrink. 67-percent of patients with pain reported less pain. In 82 patients, bone metastases were partially or completely resolved. Doctor Maha Hussain co-authored the drug study. She says its anti-cancer effects are very promising.

Maha Hussain, MD, FACP, Professor of Medicine and Urology, Associate Director of Clinical Research, Co-leader, Prostate Cancer Program, University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, explains the findings of the drug study, "It does appear to slow the cancer from growing, but it does not cure the cancer, obviously. The early signs that we have seen have been encouraging and dramatic."

For Gino, it's an opportunity to slow his cancer and relieve his pain. He hopes someday no one will have to experience what he's living through.

Right now researchers are continuing to evaluate the drug not only for prostate cancer, but for patients with other cancers including ovarian and breast cancers that have spread to the bone.

MEDICAL BREAKTHROUGHS
RESEARCH SUMMARY

TOPIC: PROMISING PROSTATE CANCER DRUG?
REPORT: MB# 3448

BACKGROUND: Prostate cancer is cancer that occurs in a man's prostate. It is one of the most frequent forms of cancer affecting men. About one in every six men will be diagnosed with this disease sometime during the course of his life. (SOURCE: www.mayoclinic.com)

TREATMENT: There is no "one size fits all" treatment for prostate cancer. For prostate cancer in its early stages treatment may include:

* Surgery (radical prostatectomy)
* Radiation therapy, including brachytherapy and proton therapy
If the prostate cancer has spread, treatment may include:
* Hormone therapy (medicines to reduce testosterone levels)
* Chemotherapy (SOURCE: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth, www.pcf.org)

PREVENTION: Here are a few ways men can lower their risks of prostate cancer:

* Eat fewer calories or exercise more so that you maintain a healthy weight.
* Try to keep the amount of fat you get from red meat and dairy products to a minimum.
* Watch your calcium intake. Do not take supplemental doses far above the recommended daily allowance. Some calcium is OK, but avoid taking more than 1,500 mg of calcium a day.
* Eat more fish - evidence from several studies suggest that fish can help protect against prostate cancer because they have "good fat" particularly omega-3 fatty acids. Avoid Trans fatty acids (found in margarine).
* Try to incorporate cooked tomatoes that are cooked with olive oil, which has also been shown to be beneficial, and cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli and cauliflower) into many of your weekly meals. Soy and green tea are also potential dietary components that may be helpful. (Source: www.pcf.org)

LATEST BREAKTHROUGHS: A new drug called cabozantinib is showing early promise treating patients with prostate cancer, particularly against tumors that have spread to the bone.

"The most striking finding is the fact that we saw broad evidence of anticancer effects including shrinkage of tumors in about 70% of patients, dramatic improvements in bone scans, pain improvement in patients who had pain to start with and overall delay in the progression of the cancer," Dr. Maha Hussain, an Associate Director for Clinical Research at University of Michigan, said.

In addition, among patients who were on narcotics due to bone pain, 67% reported less pain and 56% either stopped taking narcotics or reduced the dosage. Also, more than two-thirds of patients had some tumor regressions in areas of spread outside the bone. The treatment effects lasted on average 29 weeks.
The study found moderate side effects from cabozantinib, including fatigue, gastrointestinal symptoms and high blood pressure. (SOURCE: www.cancer.med.umich.edu)

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