Good News for Men with Advanced Prostate Cancer: A New Drug Promises a Longer Life
Second, just to lung cancer, advanced prostate cancer is the second highest cause of cancer-related deaths in men in the US. After five years, the survival rates for patients drop to below 30%.
Though still in clinical trials, a new drug has been developed that could change everything.
Called Apalutamide, the drug uses a targeted approach to attack the specific protein that has been allowing the cancer cells to multiply and progress to other parts of the body. Side effects from the drug were reported to be well-tolerated by patients.
Using a control group on the standard cancer treatment, and a group on the standard treatment plus the new drug, the first round of clinical trials was very promising. Researchers at the Huntsman Cancer Institute saw the risk of disease production drop by 52% and the risk of death dropped by 33%. Not only does the drug allow patients to live longer, but it delays the progression of the disease, and reduces the need for chemotherapy.
One of the many benefits to the drug is that it comes in the form of a pill. This allows more doctors in rural areas or removed from large cancer centers to prescribe it without any state-of-the-art equipment or infrastructure. Patients haven’t seen any changes in side effects, but the drug may offer better patient outcomes.
Apalutamide has been made available to a very small population of patients as of a few months, but researchers hope at the conclusion of a new round of clinical trials, begun in 2015, that the drug will be made available to hundreds of thousands of men worldwide.
The US Food and Drug Administration is currently reviewing the drug, with the hopes that it will be approved for use among those recently diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer by the end of the year.