World-first trial fighting advanced prostate cancer in Australian men

A first global trial studies a new approach to fight against the prostate cancer in men with advanced disease.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer-related death in men in Australia, with over 3,000 patients dying each year.

Now dozens of patients are being recruited from seven hospitals across Australia for a new trial.

The world's first trial is investigating a new approach to fighting prostate cancer in men with advanced disease.
The world’s first trial is investigating a new approach to fighting prostate cancer in men with advanced disease. (9News)

It involves using sophisticated analyzes to identify a key marker before infusing a radioactive drug called lutetium that targets markers on the surface of prostate cancer cells and destroys them.

“We know that theranostic treatment is effective on its own in that 66% of patients will have a response,” said Associate Professor Shahneen Sandhu of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Center.

“These targeted therapies are really the way of the future.”

The trial treatment is enhanced with the addition of two immunotherapy drugs that have helped revolutionize the fight against melanoma and lung cancer.

It is hoped that the drugs, Ipilimumab and Nivolumab, will make the trial more effective and sustainable.

“This is the first time this approach has been taken,” Sandhu said.

“We’re trying to stimulate those immune cells to get them to do the heavy lifting and mop up the cancer.”

John Boland, 72, underwent the new prostate cancer trial and says he nearly cured it.
John Boland, 72, underwent the new prostate cancer trial and says he nearly cured it. (9News)

John Boland, 72, has lived with prostate cancer for seven years and has undergone numerous rounds of radiotherapy and hormone therapy without success.

Now he has undergone the new ordeal which has almost healed him.

“After the second lutetium treatment, my PSA [prostate-specific antigen] was almost nil,” Boland said.

“The side effects are negligible, I felt a little tired, other than that it was easy.”

The trial involves using sophisticated analyzes to identify a key marker before infusing a radioactive drug called lutetium.
The trial involves using sophisticated analyzes to identify a key marker before infusing a radioactive drug called lutetium. (9News)

The Cancer Foundation of Australia is funding the new trial.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 21: A COVID-19 testing clinic sign at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital on January 21, 2022 in Sydney, Australia.  NSW has recorded 46 deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, marking the state's deadliest day since the pandemic began.  NSW also recorded 25,168 new coronavirus infections in the last 24-hour reporting period.  (Photo by Jenny Evans/Getty Images)

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“We are contributing $1.6 million to fund this evolutionary trial and the trial will recruit 100 men across the country at different sites,” said Professor Jeff Dunn of the Cancer Foundation of Australia.

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