Novel Therapies for Prostate Cancer: “ The Future is Now”
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Mitchell Gross, MD, PhD – Cedars-Sinai Medical Center,
Los Angeles, CA

In his talk Dr. Mitchell Gross discusses new drugs that target molecular check points in cancer cells to slow or stop the growth of prostate cancer. He describes how he helps develop new drugs in the laboratory, and then works with them to prove or disprove their effectiveness in both preliminary clinical studies as well as full scale clinical trials. Many of these molecular targeted drugs are only modestly effective when used by themselves, but can be very effective when combined with chemotherapy medications which are approved under the current standard of care.

The new drugs that Dr. Gross focuses on in this talk inhibit: angiogenesis (blood vessel formation), mTOR (a protein kinase that regulates cell growth, proliferation and survival), and insulin growth factor-1 (IGF-1) (a growth factor that also stimulates cell proliferation and inhibits cell death). Among the promising angiogeneis inhibitors is bevacizumab (Avastin®), an antibody that binds to VEGF proteins to inhibit VEGF’s function. When bevacizumab was combined with the Taxane chemotherapy drug Taxanes in a laboratory, the PC tumor did not grow at all. Bevacizumab has already been proven effective in prolonging life when combined with chemotherapy for colorectal and lung cancer, and large scale trials in the future may prove that it can be similarly effective in fighting PC.

Several mTOR inhibitors are in clinical trials or soon will be. These include rapamycin, CCI-779, RAD001, and AP 23576. Lab test suggest that these new drugs also could increase the effectiveness of current chemotherapy drugs for PC patients.

An IGF-1 inhibitor among the new drugs is CP-751,871. This is another antibody is administered intravenously, and which may increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy.

In the future Dr. Gross sees new molecular targeted drugs being used in combination with one or more other drugs to slow or stop the growth of prostate cancer in a more precise and focused way than is possible currently.

This presentation was one of several given at the Prostate Cancer Research Institute’s September, 2006 conference “Improving Treatment and Quality of Life For Men with Recurrent and Advanced Prostate Cancer” held in Los Angeles, CA, USA. The Prostate Cancer Research Institute (PCRI) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose mission is to improve the quality of men’s lives by supporting research and disseminating information that educates and empowers patients, families and the medical community.

Much more information is available in our PCRI Papers page and elsewhere on this Web site.

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