Every 45 minutes, a man dies from prostate cancer in the UK.
Last year, Hayley and her four-year-old son Rory spent their first Christmas without Grandpa Bernie. This Christmas, a donation could give families more time with the men they love.
Bernie was adamant that research would change the way prostate cancers like his were treated by the time his grandson grew up. And now, thanks to your previous support, we’ve committed funds to the first three years of a revolutionary clinical research programme that will do exactly that.
This is world leading, first of its kind research, that aims to discover and test new biomarker/treatment combinations in men with advanced prostate cancer as soon as they’re diagnosed. This means using each man’s cancer DNA to discover the genetic change that’s driving his particular prostate cancer, and matching it to the treatment that is most likely to halt the disease.
This revolutionary clinical research programme will change the way men with advanced prostate cancer are treated forever.
This finally heralds the end of one size fits all treatment for a disease that varies so much between men, and will give men like Bernie more Christmases to make precious memories with their loved ones.
The benefits of this research will start to be felt by men recruited to the first arms of this clinical trial by early 2018, but this project will continue for longer than that, and deliver results that have a real impact on the lives of men for many years to come. That makes it even more important to make sure that we can continue to fund vital research like this through to the end.
‘They’re on to something now, Hayley! There’ll be a cure one day. There’ll be a time when they can stop it. It won’t happen in my lifetime, but it’s for Rory.’
The results from the first arms of the STAMPEDE clinical trial were reported towards the end of 2016 and again earlier this year. They showed very clearly that giving men life-extending treatments like docetaxel or abiraterone, early on, before their cancer became resistant to hormone therapy, can help them survive for years longer.
Similarly, initial results from the TOPARP trial for men whose prostate cancer is resistant to hormone therapy, and are at a later stage of the disease, were equally positive. This was the first time that doctors had purposely selected men for treatment based on a specific change in their cancer DNA. Treating them with a drug that targets that genetic change helped men live significantly longer with what is otherwise a lethal disease.
Our new research programme combines these two approaches – giving targeted treatments, but before hormone resistance sets in. We hope this will significantly improve survival times for men with advanced prostate cancer.
In addition, as part of the trial design, the researchers will use prostate cancer samples they’ve collected to identify potential new disease driving genetic changes, and the drugs that could combat them. These will go on to be tested within this same research programme.
'My dad would be over the moon about the new research that Prostate Cancer UK are funding'.
Once the discovery phase of the project is complete, the aim is for all men recruited to the trial to have the genetic changes in their cancer mapped. The vast majority will then be selected for a targeted treatment based on those changes. The research team hope that the improvement in survival for these targeted treatments will be marked enough to ensure a swift change in clinical practice.
Eventually, thousands of men could benefit directly from this research. And we can make sure that by the time boys like Rory grow up, research like this will already be changing the lives of thousands of men diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer each year.