Light Therapy Employing Light-Sensitive Drug Effectively Treats Early Prostate Cancer

A new non-surgical treatment for low-risk prostate cancer can effectively kill cancer cells while preserving healthy tissue, according to results of a new University College London (UCL)-led phase III clinical trial in 413 patients. The trial was funded by STEBA Biotech which holds the commercial license for the treatment. The new treatment, “vascular-targeted photodynamic therapy” (VTP), involves injecting a light-sensitive drug into the bloodstream and then activating it with a laser to destroy tumor tissue in the prostate. The research, published online on December 19, 2016 in The Lancet Oncology, found that approximately half (49%) of patients treated with VTP went into complete remission compared with 13.5% in the control group. The open-access article is titled “Padeliporfin Vascular-Targeted Photodynamic Therapy Versus Active Surveillance in Men with Low-Risk Prostate Cancer (CLIN1001 PCM301): an Open-Label, Phase 3, Randomised Controlled Trial.” An editorial entitled “Low-Risk Prostate Cancer: To Treat or Not to Treat,” accompanied the article. "These results are excellent news for men with early localized prostate cancer, offering a treatment that can kill cancer without removing or destroying the prostate," says lead investigator Professor Mark Emberton, Dean of UCL Medical Sciences and Consultant Urologist at UCLH. "This is truly a huge leap forward for prostate cancer treatment, which has previously lagged decades behind other solid cancers such as breast cancer. In 1975, almost everyone with breast cancer was given a radical mastectomy, but since then treatments have steady improved and we now rarely need to remove the whole breast.
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