Clinical Trial For Laser-Activated Technique Left No Sign Of Prostate Cancer

By Christie Abagon , Dec 20, 2016 02:34 PM EST

A laser light activated drug may be the answer to prostate cancer treatment.  Trial results show that this new treatment destroys early prostate cancer while avoiding surgery side effects.

VTP Only Targets Prostate Tumors And Does Not Cause Impotence

Weizmann Institute of Science scientists in Israel first developed the technique several years ago, after discovering light-sensitive bacteria at the bottom of the ocean.  In order to survive with very little sunlight, they evolved to convert light into energy with high efficiency.  The scientists then developed this phenomenon.

Vascular-targeted photodynamic therapy (VTP) technique involves injecting a drug that is light-sensitive into the bloodstream.  The drug is then "switched on" by laser pulses fired thru optical fibers inserted into the prostate, Independent reports. 

About Half Of The Study Participants Showed No Sign Of Cancer Two Years After The Treatment

The clinical trial involved 413 men, and 196 were randomly assigned to receive VTP. Two years later, about half of those who received the treatment showed no signs of the disease, and experienced no side effects.  This new technique only targets prostate tumors, therefore, it does not cause long-term problems of impotence and urinary incontinence, which are often associated with "radical" surgery or radiotherapy.

Professor Mark Emberton, lead author of the study, said: "These results are excellent news for men with early localised prostate cancer, offering a treatment that can kill cancer without removing or destroying the prostate.  This is truly a huge leap forward for prostate cancer treatment, which has previously lagged decades behind other solid cancers such as breast cancer."

Emberton also added that they hope to "achieve a significantly higher remission rate than in the trial and send nearly all low-risk localised prostate cancers into remission."  This treatment is not yet available for patients, but it will be assessed by regulators starting next year. 

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