Georgia Cancer Specialists a Leader in Prostate Cancer Treatment, Research

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

GCS Offers Patients Access to Targeted Therapies, Groundbreaking Clinical Trials for Prostate Cancer Drugs

Dr. Mansoor SalehSeptember 22, 2011 (Atlanta) — Georgia Cancer Specialists (GCS) has a long history of leading the battle against prostate cancer. GCS currently offers patients access to the latest targeted cancer therapies including Provenge and Abiraterone, both of which were studied at GCS as part of a clinical trial. Also available is Cabazitaxel, a chemotherapy for prostate cancer that was recently approved by the FDA.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in men in the U.S. The American Cancer Society reports that approximately one in every six men will be diagnosed with the disease during his lifetime, and approximately 29,000 men die annually from the disease in the U.S. 

Dr. Mansoor Saleh, Director of Clinical Research at GCS, says, “This is a very promising time regarding new prostate cancer treatments, with a number of novel drugs recently approved, and several more in clinical trials. GCS is committed to giving patients access to all of these. ”

Provenge, a novel immunotherapy, is the only FDA-approved treatment for men with advanced prostate cancer that is designed to use the body’s own white blood cells to attack tumors. GCS has treated dozens of patients with Provenge, which requires a patient’s white blood cells to be extracted via a special laboratory procedure called leukapheresis. Following the extraction, the white blood cells are shipped to a production facility where they are exposed to a genetically engineered protein present on prostate cancer cells. The activated cells are then infused back into the patient. The stimulated immune cells should then be able to recognize and seek out prostate cancer cells and attack them. Dendreon, the maker of Provenge, recently opened a production facility here in Alpharetta. 

Abiraterone, a pill that inhibits a critical enzyme CYP-17, in combination with Prednisone, is currently approved for the treatment of patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer whose disease has progressed following prior chemotherapy. This novel drug specifically blocks the production of testosterone, which is produced by the adrenal gland as well as the tumor itself. In doing so, the treatment starves the tumor of its key hormone stimulant.—testosterone. Clinical trials using Abiraterone, which were conducted internationally, including at GCS, demonstrated improved survival in patients who receive Abiraterone together with Prednisone. 

Cabazitaxel is a new chemotherapy approved to treat men with advanced prostate cancer that has progressed after treatment with other anti-cancer medicines, including Docetaxel. Cabazitaxel, given with Prednisone, has been shown to destroy tumors that were unresponsive to Docetaxel thus providing one more option in our armamentarium against prostate cancer

GCS is currently enrolling patients in two clinical research trials for early stage and metastatic prostate cancer with Abiraterone and Ipilimumab, respectivley. 

A Phase II study of Abiraterone (currently approved for metastatic castration-resistant cancer) is being tested in early stage disease. Its effectiveness for early stage cancer patients is promising.

Ipilimumab is the first agent ever proven to improve survival in advanced melanoma, and it has also shown the potential for combating several other cancers. GCS is now enrolling patients in a Phase III trial to determine its use as a treatment for metastatic prostate cancer.  

The GCS research team is also slated to enroll patients in a new study for a novel new drug from Aragon, ARN 509, which is an inhibitor of the androgen receptor found on prostate cancer cells. 

GCS is committed to making targeted cancer therapy accessible to as many patients as possible. With five research sites in Athens, Metro Atlanta, and Macon, GCS patients across the state are able to take part in the trials. GCS is the only private cancer practice in Georgia to offer Phase I trials.

Georgia Cancer Specialists is a Top 10 private cancer practice in the U.S. and a leader in advanced cancer treatment and research. The practice supports more than 200,000 patient visits each year. GCS offers community-based medical oncology and hematology services and is the first private oncology practice to also provide a full range of support services for patients in Georgia, including wellness counseling and home health coordination. The GCS research department, whose focus is bringing targeted cancer therapy to communities, is the first in Georgia to offer Phase I clinical trials, the most novel cancer therapies available. GCS has 29 offices, 45 physicians, and more than 500 support staff members located in Metro Atlanta, and North and Central Georgia. Georgia Cancer Specialists can be found on the web at www.gacancer.com GCS is The Cancer Answer.

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