Man at doctor’s office

Prostate cancer is the development of cancer in the compound tubuloalveolar exocrine gland of the male reproductive system. This cancer is associated with urinary dysfunction as the prostate gland surrounds the prostatic urethra. The Early stage of disease often has no symptoms and when it does – it is nocturia. Depending on the situation, the treatment options for men with prostate cancer might include: surveillance, surgery, radiation therapy, cryotherapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, vaccine or bone-directed treatment.

Diagram showing T1-3 stages of prostate cancer
Diagram showing T1-3 stages of prostate cancer

Scientists from University College London just finished a trial of a new, non-invasive treatment, that use a drug based on ocean bacteria. After the procedure, almost half of the patients go into remission. The trial was funded by Steba Biotech.

This treatment is called Vascular Targeted Photodynamic Therapy (VTP). It uses the drug named WST11 – novel negatively charged water-soluble palladium-bacteriochlorophyll derivative. Bacteriochlorophyll is a light-sensitive organism and converts photons into energy. The same principle is applied by WST11 – the compounds kill cancer cells. VTP treatment is conducted by injecting a light-sensitive drug into the bloodstream and then activating it with a laser to destroy tumor tissue in the prostate. This procedure passed 47 patients in trial treatment and 49 percent of patients went into complete remission.

Lead researcher Mark Emberton claims that the VTP therapy gave excellent results for the low-riks prostate cancer patients. Instead of being under surveillance, VTP should stop to spread cancer in its early stage. Waiting for a development of the disease is often a dilemma for males as the radical therapy can cause lifelong erectile problems and incontinence. Another advance of the VTP treatment is that is non-invasive and post-treatment recovery is relatively short. While the drug kills effectively cancer cells, the prostate remains intact and preserved. A side effect of VTP therapy is short term and involves urinary and erectile problems. Those problems are resolved within three months.

A scientist expects the better percentage of treatment success when they access to the latest MRI technology. With MRI, they will be able to accurately identify men who would benefit from VTP and deliver treatment more precisely to the tumor.

The VTP treatment is currently being reviewed by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).