Friends For Life: Prostate cancer researchers

ANN ARBOR, Mich (WLNS) – Advancements in cancer treatment are helping patients live longer, higher quality lives.

But there is no standard of care for many types of cancer.

So for some the treatment options run-out.

WeatherFirst meteorologist Jim Geyer visited the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center and talked to two cancer research doctors who are working to find new and specific treatments for prostate cancer.

“This is actually an exciting time for prostate cancer research and therapy because the technologies have emerged that we can now comprehensively dissect the molecular blueprint of prostate cancer using genome sequencing technologies,” explains Dr. Arul Chinnaiyan.

Doctor Arul Chinnaiyan and his colleagues at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center are leading the way in finding new ways to target and treat prostate cancer. And it’s a big step beyond what has, up to now, been the standard “go-to” treatment.

“The conventional treatments like, for example, most chemotherapies, attempt to try to target the tumor but they end up also damaging normal cells,” says Dr. Maha Hussain.

Doctor Hussain is also quite aware of the challenges in finding new treatments in the fight against prostate cancer. “Prostate cancer is complex. It’s not all one size fits all and the more we analyze it, the more we understand how complex it is. For every trial that was done that led to an improvement in outcome, and FDA approval, there are two trials that failed.”

One of the latest discoveries in the treatment of prostate cancer goes right down to the molecular level.

“We’re discovering the molecular basis of cancer, trying to develop bio-markers, and trying to match the therapies appropriate, based on those molecular alterations,” Dr. Chinnaiyan adds.

And, because they are now looking at the molecular level of cancer, they’re able to match the properties of some prostate cancers with other cancers with the same traits.

“Now we can think about sequencing patients with metastatic prostate cancer, seeing if they have defects in DNA repair, and then suggesting this therapy that’s already approved in ovarian cancer but now can be repurposed to metastatic prostate cancer.”

With these new discoveries coming out of the U of M Cancer Center, researchers there, and elsewhere, want you to know what your options are in the fight against cancer.

“Multiple physicians from different centers in the state got together through the Health Department in Lansing, and they developed material for patients to consider. I do think men need to also inform themselves but, again, make a joint decision or shared decision with your physician.”

Researchers at the U of M Comprehensive Cancer Center are seeking interested patients whose prostate cancer is resistant to their current treatment. If you think you might be a candidate for the newest treatments being developed ask your physician to contact the Cancer Center.

Questions about cancer? Call the Cancer AnswerLine: 800-865-1125

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