Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer and the second leading cause of death among American men. According to the National Cancer Institute, an estimated 238,590 new cases will be diagnosed this year, with close to 30,000 deaths attributed to the disease.
To decrease mortality, the Prostate Cancer Moon Shot at MD Anderson has focused on three areas: reducing overtreatment; combining therapies used in more advanced cases to treat the disease earlier; and developing new, targeted therapies (including immunotherapy) for patients who see little to no benefit from traditional treatment methods.
We have applied our biological understanding of prostate cancer to the dilemma of extensive overtreatment patients receive as a result of screening. In addition, genetic and lifestyle factors that drive the cancer are taken into account and used to help determine the risk of progression. We estimate this will reduce overtreatment by 30%.
We are also working to apply recent knowledge to therapies typically developed for more advanced prostate cancer. Our goal is to use these therapies in combination more effectively and at the right time to shift the focus from treating prostate cancer to curing it.
Significant progress has been made in this area, and there already is evidence that certain patients with meaningful prostate cancer – the type we now know can progress – can be treated early using a combination of the same drugs used individually in patients with advanced disease.
Finally, we are focused on developing new, targeted therapies for patients and linking them to novel models that have been developed, as well as integrating new approaches that allow the immune system to attack tumors. By expanding and integrating data from these approaches, we expect to improve treatment for patients who have not responded well to traditional methods and to increase patient life span.
Although we have come a long way, none of the research would be possible without donations – large and small – received from people like you. There is a tremendous amount of work to be done. With your support, we can continue to move forward in the fight against prostate cancer.
The moon shot leaders have galvanized a large and integrated team that is moving forward in a milestone-driven manner to convert scientific knowledge into drugs, tests, devices and policies that can benefit patients as quickly as possible.
Jon Thompson lives a remarkable life. He’s a West Point graduate, an aerospace engineer, a former pilot in Vietnam and successful business owner. He’s visited more than 42 countries on official U.S. government trips. He met with curators in the Louvre for a major Napoleon exhibition. He’s seen wreckage of the Titanic on the ocean floor and searched for Amelia Earhart's lost plane. When a prostate cancer diagnosis disrupted his life’s journey, a family friend referred him to MD Anderson. “I liken my cancer experience to the Titanic,” Jon says. “I hit the iceberg, and the doctors and staff at MD Anderson were my lifeboat.” Continue reading...