New Clinical Trial Offers Vascular-Targeted Photodynamic Therapy to Patients with Localized Prostate Cancer

Date: 
Tue, 2010-07-27 09:08

NYU Langone Medical Center has begun a clinical trial offering vascular-targeted photodynamic therapy to patients with localized prostate cancer. This novel, minimally invasive procedure uses a light-activated drug to deliver light energy waves by way of laser fibers in order to destroy prostate cancer cells.

"This minimally invasive technique for localized prostate cancer offers the potential to destroy the cancer without making any incision or causing any potentially devastating sexual, urinary or reproductive side-effects," said Samir S. Taneja, MD, The James M. Neissa and Janet Riha Neissa Associate Professor of Urologic Oncology and director of the Division of Urologic Oncology at NYU Langone Medical Center and principal investigator for the national, multi-center clinical trial testing this technology. "This procedure only treats the cancerous part of the prostate gland, similar to how a lumpectomy might be done for breast cancer.

Photodynamic therapy is just one of the many personalized treatment options offered by the Smilow Comprehensive Prostate Cancer Center at NYU Langone Medical Center. The Center offers a wide range of the latest treatment options for prostate cancer including: open or robotic prostatectomy surgery, brachytherapy, external beam radiation therapy, cryotherapy and high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), a focal therapy that uses high-energy sound waves to treat prostate cancer, now also in clinical trials at the medical center.

This Phase I/II photodynamic therapy trial is open to men diagnosed with localized prostate cancer -- determined by a needle biopsy and advanced imaging techniques -- who have chosen active surveillance, also known as "watchful-waiting. During the procedure, laser fibers are positioned over the prostate where cancer cells have been identified. Once in place, a photosensitizing drug called WST11 is administered to the patient intravenously and circulates throughout the blood stream for ten-minutes. The laser fibers are then activated to deliver a specific wavelength of light to the prostate for twenty-minutes. When the light comes into contact with the drug in circulation, the laser fibers destroy the blood vessels around the tumor shutting down the blood supply to the cancer. Patients are followed for a year after treatment with PSA tests after each visit and an MRI and needle biopsy performed at six months.

"Focal treatment of prostate cancer with techniques such as photodynamic therapy is an emerging paradigm since the over treatment of prostate cancer is a major concern for both physicians and patients," said Dr. Taneja who is also a member of the NYU Cancer Institute.

Recent European studies show photodynamic therapy successfully treats localized prostate cancer with minimal side effects. This study will investigate optimal dosage of the photosensitive drug and light-energy waves and measure outcomes of patients as well as long-term cancer control. Researchers believe the technology has the potential to treat any early stage prostate cancer as well as tumors in other organs of the body.

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