Studies on a less invasive, laser-activated drug therapy to treat prostate cancer is currently underway.
Photodynamic therapy, a new therapy utilises light energy by way of laser fibres for effectively delivering drugs capable of destroying cancer cells in a targeted manner.
Photodynamic therapy procedure involves positioning of laser fibres over the prostate where cancer cells have been identified.
Once in place, a photosensitizing drug called WST11 is administered to the patient intravenously and circulates throughout the blood stream for ten-minutes. The laser fibres are then activated to deliver a specific wavelength of light to the prostate for twenty-minutes.
When the light comes into contact with the drug in circulation, the laser fibres destroy the blood vessels around the tumour shutting down the blood supply to the cancer.
Patients are followed up for a year after Photodynamic therapytreatment with prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests after each visit and an MRI and needle biopsy performed at six months.
NYU Langone Medical Center has begun a clinical trial offering vascular-targeted photodynamic therapy to patients with localized prostate cancer.
“This minimally invasive technique for localized prostate cancer offers the potential to destroy the cancer without making any incision or causing any potentially devastating sexual, urinary or reproductive side-effects,” said Samir S. Taneja, MD, The James M. Neissa and Janet Riha Neissa Associate Professor of Urologic Oncology and director of the Division of Urologic Oncology at NYU Langone Medical Center and principal investigator for the national, multi-center clinical trial testing this technology.
According to him, this procedure only treats the cancerous part of the prostate gland.
This Phase I/II photodynamic therapy trial is open to men diagnosed with localized prostate cancer.
Focal treatment of prostate cancer with techniques such as photodynamic therapy is an emerging paradigm since the over treatment of prostate cancer is a major concern for both physicians and patients, said Dr. Taneja who is also a member of the NYU Cancer Institute.
This study will investigate optimal dosage of the photosensitive drug and light-energy waves and measure outcomes of patients as well as long-term cancer control.
Photodynamic therapy successfully treats localized prostate cancer with minimal side effects, recent studies show.
The technology has the potential to treat any early stage prostate cancer as well as tumours in other organs of the body, believe the researchers.