June 5th, 2017
Light therapy can effectively help out men who have low to medium risk of developing prostate cancer. The evidence to support this theory was attained when phase III clinical trials were conducted.
A study conducted on over 400 men with localized traces of prostate cancer showed the effectiveness of a treatment approach called vascular-targeted photodynamic therapy (VTP). VTP solely focuses on killing the targeted cancerous cells in prostate cancer patients, while unleashing no harm to the surrounding healthy tissues. The study also revealed that using VTP as a treatment option can eliminate the need of radical therapy which employs irradiation or removal of the prostate entirely.
The lead investigator, consultant urologist and dean of Medical Sciences at University College London, UK, Prof. Mark Emberton along with his colleagues reported the findings of their study to The Lancet Oncology.
In US, next to skin cancer the incidence of prostate cancer is second highest in men. For men with localized prostate cancer, the first protocol usually offered is active surveillance, in which by using PSA (prostate specific antigen) and DRE (digital rectal exam), the cancer is thoroughly screened. At times biopsies may as well be done but the treatment is only provided in case the cancer worsens. However if the cancer does not aggravate, the treatment approaches are limited to:
These treatment options can also bring along undesired adverse effects like urinary incontinence, bowel related issues, persistent erectile dysfunction.
VTP was introduced by Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel in association with STEBA Biotech, a biotechnology based company.
VTP treatment involves injecting of WST11 into the bloodstream, a drug with light sensitive properties which is derived from the ocean bacteria. Once the drug is activated using a laser, the drug emits free radicals that effectively destroys the cancerous cells present in the prostate.
In Prof. Emberton’s phase III trial study, 413 men having early diagnosis of localized cancer were selected from 10 European countries and were offered active surveillance protocol. 206 of these patients randomly received VTP treatment whereas the rest of the patients were categorized as the control group (and received active surveillance). The follow up of these patients lasted for a period of 2 years in which the PSA testing was done regularly and erectile and urinary functions were assessed at every 3 months. Prostate biopsies were also conducted by the end of each year.
The findings revealed of the study were as following:
Therefore, it is safe to say that VTP can significantly help men with early diagnosis of localized prostate cancer.
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