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Understanding Prostate Cancer

Fighting the toughest forms of prostate cancer

This article is not intended to replace professional medical care or advice. If you have any questions or need additional information, please talk with your doctor.

Certain forms of prostate cancer are especially aggressive, while others will be almost entirely resistant to many of the known or common forms of treatment, and these are generally the most dangerous of all. However, whereas the prognosis for patients diagnosed with these types of prostate cancer was pretty dire only a decade ago, new and exciting progress has been made in research and development that gives individuals plenty of reason to be hopeful.

Two recent studies were released that showed how oncologists and researchers in the prostate cancer arena are working hard to fight some of the toughest forms of the disease.

Overcoming treatment resistance

The Scripps Research Institute recently announced the completion of a landmark study that will be first published in Molecular Cell, a medical journal, that was specifically focused upon therapy-resistant strains of prostate cancer. According to the authors of the report, one pathway was discovered that essentially triggers a reaction in the body that leads to treatment resistance, and this has been especially problematic since so many patients end up in this position.

Basically, the common approach of trying to lower the amount of testosterone in the blood stream eventually leads to resistance. The scientists at the Scripps Research Institute’s Florida campus believe that they have identified the signaling circuit that leads to resistance, and now are aiming to find safe and effective ways to disrupt the activities that take place during the outset of treatment.

“Disrupting this circuit by targeting any of its individual components blocks the expression of these transcription factors and significantly impairs therapy-resistant prostate cancer,” Ji-Hak Jeong, a research associate at the Scripps Research Institute and lead author of the study, explained.

Should this research’s findings work in progress, it could help to delay or even prevent the prospect of reaching therapy resistance, thus dramatically improving patient outcomes for those living with prostate cancer.

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Reducing repeat risk

The Harvard Medical School reported that a new treatment technique, in which oncologists screen for prostate-specific antigens in the blood system directly after prostate cancer surgery and administer radiation when those levels spike might prevent the prospect of coming down with the disease again. At the same time, the study’s authors did note that the speed with which radiation must be administered might be a bit too quick, potentially being required even before testing positive for spiked levels of PSAs.

In that regard, the report noted that more research is necessary to better understand the risk versus reward of such actions, especially for prostate cancer patients who are considered to be under graver threat from the disease or radiation therapy. However, understanding how to better use PSAs as a screening tool is certainly a cause worthy of time and investment, as these antigens are among the most important when trying to identify and fight prostate cancer.

The Harvard Medical School noted that the research is still ongoing.