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New Therapy May Change Low-Risk Prostate Cancer Treatment

Men who are diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer may soon find a new treatment available to them. A drug-based procedure under study in Europe is showing great promise in helping men beat prostate cancer in a minimally invasive way.

The drug in question is a vascular targeting agent whose method of use is revolutionary in the treatment of prostate cancer. The drug is injected directly into the prostate to reach tumors at their source. Once the drug is in place, the therapy is activated by the use of a special wavelength of light. The two combine to essentially strangle the tumor by cutting off its oxygen supply. The light is applied through the use of fibers that are fed directly into the prostate lobe where tumors are found. All told, the procedure lasts only about 90 minutes and is designed to allow repeats, if necessary.

Although still very much under study, the new procedure is showing a great deal of promise. A recent trial involving more than 400 patients found that nearly half of all patients remained in remission after two years. Only 13 percent of the patients in a control group stayed in remission after two years. Researchers also found that the rate of advance was significantly lower in the group that received the new drug therapy versus those who did not.

How soon the new procedure might become more widely available remains unclear. Researchers, however, are diligently moving through trials. The treatment’s potential to kill off cancer cells while sparing nearby healthy tissue from damage has made its progress of great interest to healthcare providers across the globe.

About 160,000 American men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year with about 26,000 deaths attributed to this cause. Since all men are at risk for the development of this disease, it is strongly recommended that men speak with their doctors about their personal risks and the need for routine screening.