Prostate Cancer:  Leading the Way on Individualized Treatment

Prostate cancer, like most cancers, is highly individualized. New tests and targeted therapies are being developed at PMH that will provide men with appropriate treatment choices depending on their age, family history and aggressiveness of their cancer.

Dr. Neil Fleshner, head of Urology at PMH, leads the research into prostate cancer prevention.  This includes chemoprevention which is the use of drugs or micronutrients to prevent cancer growth.  Clinical trials are on-going at the hospital to validate the effectiveness of certain chemopreventative agents. Dr. Fleshner’s team is also looking for ‘biomarkers’ that identify individuals at higher risk for the disease and the best candidates for the chemopreventative drugs and supplements.

Dr. Robert Bristow, head of the PMH Prostate Cancer Research Program, and his team are working on a cancer cell repair program.  Focused primarily on prostate cancer that develops in younger men, his lab is developing tests to detect faulty DNA repair along with new drugs that can fix the DNA repair machinery in order to prevent and treat prostate cancer in these men.

A new form of treatment called photodynamic therapy (PDT) is being investigated through a series of clinical trials led by Dr. John Trachtenberg, the Fleck/Tanenbaum Chair in Prostatic Diseases and Director of the Prostate Centre. Drugs that become active when exposed to light are injected into the bloodstream.  They are then activated by laser light that is delivered via thin optical fibres that are inserted into the prostate tumour.

Other individualized diagnostics or therapies include: genetic fingerprinting of patients, image-guided and laprascopic surgery, molecular-targeted drug therapies, image-guided external beam radiotherapy, and MRI-guided brachytherapy (in which radioactive seeds are precisely placed in the prostate to deliver a balanced dose of radiation over a six month period).  Measuring the side effects and quality of life for men receiving hormone therapy and chemotherapy are a high priority.

Go online to for further information on the services and programs at the PMH Prostate Centre.
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