Immunotherapy Modulation would Improve Prostate Cancer Survival Rates and Eliminate Side Effects Associated with Conventional Treatments
SARASOTA, Fla., Nov. 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Dr. John Sylvester, a radiation oncologist and prostate cancer researcher at 21st Century Oncology, the largest integrated cancer care network in America, is the lead 21st Century Oncology investigator of a groundbreaking new immunotherapy modulation study that could significantly improve health and quality of life for prostate cancer patients, eliminating surgery and other treatments that can cause incontinence, impotence and other serious side effects.
Led by Johns Hopkins Institute, the ProstAtak® study is a nationwide trial including four investigators from 21st Century Oncology. The double-blind study uses a modified cold virus that is injected into the prostate and inserts a herpes simplex gene into the cancer cells. The virus has been altered so as not to cause an infection. When the patient takes an anti-herpetic drug like valacyclovir, it kills the virus along with the cancer cells, and instructs the body’s immune system to seek out and kill any other prostate cancer cells anywhere in the body.
“If this works as well as we expect it to, and is approved by the FDA, we will start using this method in most of our cancer patients,” Dr. Sylvester said. “This will cause dramatically fewer side effects and have a better cure rate. It’s a win-win.”
Of the three main treatments for prostate cancer—surgery, interstitial brachytherapy and regular radiation—interstitial brachytherapy, also known as beam plus seeds, has the highest relapse-free survival rate. In intermediate risk patients, 92 to 95% remain cancer-free for nine years after treatment. Brachytherapy, which involves inserting tiny radiation seeds directly into the prostate, followed by standard radiation treatment, can cause temporary problems with urination. Regular radiation (IMRT) has a lower success rate, with 78 to 80% remaining disease-free at seven years; and surgery has a 66 to 76% recurrence-free rate for intermediate risk patients. with only five years of follow-up. What’s more, surgery is a major operation and has a much higher risk of incontinence and impotence than radiation therapy as proven by the randomized ProTecT trial, a 10-year trial that studied the effectiveness of three options for prostate cancer.
With the ProstAtak® treatment, Dr. Sylvester expects patients to see survival rates in line with interstitial brachytherapy, with less urinary side effects.
As the main non-university center, 21st Century Oncology has enrolled the most patients of any facility thus far and expects the trial to continue for two more years, until accruing a total of 711 patients. The trial continues to enroll intermediate and high-risk patients.
By participating in the study, men will potentially have access to a drug that will likely not be available for at least five years. Of the 711 men enrolled in the study, two-thirds will receive the drug and one-third will receive a placebo. All patients receive the standard eight-to-nine weeks of radiation, with six-month follow ups over two years.
About 21st Century Oncology
21st Century Oncology is the nation’s largest integrated cancer care network. Operating as one dream team in the crusade against cancer, the company carries out its mission with the mindset of “fighting for patients like an army and caring for them like a family.” 21st Century Oncology employs or is affiliated with 1,000 physicians globally to deliver the most advanced, integrated and compassionate cancer care in personal and convenient settings. Headquartered in Fort Myers, FL, 21st Century Oncology operates 164 treatment centers, including 127 centers located in 15 U.S. states. In addition, the company operates 37 centers located in seven countries in Latin America. For more information, please visit https://www.21co.com.
SOURCE 21st Century Oncology