New clinical trial to examine high risk prostate cancer patients

A new clinical trial for high risk prostate cancer patients is happening in Grand Rapids. (Nov. 17, 2015)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Prostate cancer is the number one cancer in men.

According to the American Cancer Society, one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.

Dr. Richard Kahnoski, an urologist with Spectrum Health, said his office is participating in a new first-of-its-kind clinical trial focusing on high risk prostate cancer patients.

“When it becomes resistant to hormone therapy we need more treatment,” Kahnoski said. “Right now we don’t treat that segment of the population that’s failed hormone therapy until we can demonstrate it spread in the bones, that’s where it usually likes to go.”

The trial will look at an experimental medication not yet approved by the FDA to see if it helps to prevent the spread of cancer for high risk patients.

The international study will use 1,500 patients from around the world.

“This will be looking at high risk prostate cancer that currently there is no drug on the market for, it’s an area that really has an unmet need in prostate cancer,” said Sue Engerman, a Spectrum Health clinical research nurse.

Kahnoski said ongoing research is vital.

“There’s no drugs, no treatment in between and the thought is if we can prevent it from even getting to the bones they might be way ahead,” Kahnoski said. “We don’t think these treatments will cure people but if we can hold it in check longer, our goal is to have them die of old age and not from prostate cancer.”

It’s one of three prostate cancer trials Kahnoski’s office is currently participating in, they just wrapped up another trial for low risk patients.

Kahnoski said clinical trials don’t have instant results and it takes years to know the outcome for patients.

“Sometimes maybe that’s their only hope is maybe a new drug that’s still in development and the problem is we don’t know if it works or not,” Kahnoski said.

As for prostate cancer screenings for men, the recommendations vary depending upon their age and their family history.

Kahnoski recommends men talk to their primary care doctor to see what’s right for them when it comes to screenings.

Patients interested in clinical trials can search online to see current trials and talk to their physician.



American Cancer Society

Clinical Trials

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