There are two general types of prostate cancer, and one of them is very aggressive. Unfortunately for some men, that means surgery is no longer an option by the time it gets noticed. Fortunately, some great forward strides have been made on this front at the Mayo Clinic to give these men a fighting chance.
Dr. Kwon called Dr. Allison and designed the trial together. The idea: use androgen ablation or hormone therapy to ignite an immune approach — a pilot light — and then, after a short interval of hormone therapy, introduce an anti-CTLA-4 antibody that acts like gasoline to this pilot light and overwhelms the cancer cells. MDX-010 (now called Ipilimumab) is the clinical antibody being tested in the Mayo trial.
This has been tested on two patients so far, with very good results, but some caution is in order.
Both investigators are quick to point out that the outcomes in these two patients need to be validated in further studies. Plans are already underway for extended trials at Mayo Clinic to determine the dosage to optimize this therapy and explain how this combined treatment actually works.
“It’s important for us to understand the mechanism of favorable response in these patients,” says Dr. Blute. “This could have significant implications for other forms of cancer, including hormone-sensitive forms, such as breast and ovarian cancer.
Go read the source material for a detailed account of the patients experiences, and to learn a little more about the treatment.