Focal Therapy for Prostate Cancer, Instead of 'Sledgehammer' Approach

“One of the pioneers of focal therapy for prostate cancer, which has been described as a ‘male lumpectomy,’ says that cancer control is good in the short and immediate term, and the majority of men retain potency and continence.

” ‘I think the way forward is an image-guided prostate pathway, where we all do imaging and biopsies and then treat patients on the basis of what we see, not use some sledgehammer approach where we apply surgery or radiotherapy [to the whole prostate gland], regardless of what we find,’ said Hashim Ahmed, MD, PhD, senior lecturer at University College London in the United Kingdom.

“Dr Ahmed presented data here at the European Congress of Radiology 2015 on more than 500 men with prostate cancer who have been treated by his group with high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), either while participating in trials or in clinical practice and followed up in a registry.

“At a median follow-up of 3 years (range, 1 to 8 years), prostate-cancer-specific survival is still 100%, he reported.”


Combining Radiation and Immune Therapies Could Be a Good Option for Melanoma Treatment

“Treating metastatic melanoma with a triple threat—including radiation therapy and two immunotherapies that target the CTLA4 and PD-1 pathways—could elicit an optimal response in more patients, one that will boost the immune system’s attack on the disease, suggests a new study from a multidisciplinary team of researchers from Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center published today in Nature.

“The study, led by senior authors Andy J. Minn, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Radiation Oncology, Robert Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, the Hanna Wise Professor in Cancer Research, Amit Maity, MD, PhD, professor of Radiation Oncology, and E. John Wherry, PhD, professor of Microbiology and director of the Institute for Immunology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, reports for the first time on the response and resistance to radiation combined with ipilimumab (an antibody against CTLA4) in both patients and mice.

“In the phase I clinical study, known as the ‘RadVax’ trial, the team found that combining ipilimumab with radiation was safe and shrank tumors in a subset of 22 metastatic melanoma patients (18 percent). The concurrent mouse study shed light on a mechanism of resistance, known as the PD-L1 pathway, found in many patients whose cancers progressed, suggesting that an antibody against PD-L1 or its partner PD-1 is an ideal third treatment to improve response and immunity.”


Lung Cancer Stem Cell Therapy to Be Trialled in UK

“British patients will be the first in the world to receive a pioneering cell therapy that scientists hope will transform the treatment of lung cancer.

“The treatment uses stem cells taken from bone marrow that have been genetically modified to find and destroy cancer cells.

“If successful, the treatment would offer hope to lung cancer patients, who continue to face one of the worst outlooks of all cancer patients. More than 40,000 people are diagnosed with the disease in the UK each year and only 5% of patients survive beyond 10 years.

“Prof Sam Janes, who is leading the research at University College hospital in London, said: ‘Cancers need something new. Chemotherapy works minimally and for a short while. This is truly experimental.’

“The trial, funded by the Medical Research Council, comes as a wave of cell-based therapies are making their way towards clinic. Early indications suggest these therapies could have a major impact on cure rates and survival times for patients.”