Light therapy found to destroy prostate cancer in new clinical trial

For men, particularly those who are getting on in years, the fear of getting prostate cancer looms large. With prostate cancer being the second most common cancer for men in the United States, and with over 160,000 new diagnoses each year, their fears are certainly not groundless. Although the prognosis for men diagnosed early is good, prostate cancer still claims over 26,000 lives each year. A new study conducted by researchers from University College London offers great hope for reducing that number dramatically.

The study, which was published in the journal The Lancet, involved 413 patients and was a phase III clinical trial. Trial subjects were treated at 47 different centers in 10 European countries. The study was funded by STEBA Biotech, the company that holds the patent for vascular-targeted photodynamic therapy (VTP). This therapy involves injecting a light-sensitive drug called WST11 directly into the patient’s bloodstream, and then “activating” the drug by means of a laser, causing the prostate tumor tissue to die.

The WST11 drug is cultivated from bacteria that live on the ocean floor. Since these bacteria have little exposure to light, they have developed the ability to convert light into energy very efficiently. By utilizing this ability, WST11 is able to release free radicals, which when activated with the laser, can kill cancer cells without damaging healthy tissue.

Current mainstream medicine offers two treatment options for men diagnosed with prostate cancer: “Active surveillance,” which involves monitoring the disease until it becomes more severe; and radical therapy, in which the entire prostate is either irradiated or removed. This treatment has severe long-term side effects, including erectile problems and incontinence.

The VTP treatment, on the other hand, caused only short-term erectile and urinary problems, all of which resolved quickly, and had completely disappeared within two years.

“These results are excellent news for men with early localised prostate cancer, offering a treatment that can kill cancer without removing or destroying the prostate,” said Professor Mark Emberton, dean of UCL Medical Sciences and consultant urologist at UCLH. Professor Emerton was the lead investigator for the study. “This is truly a huge leap forward for prostate cancer treatment, which has previously lagged decades behind other solid cancers such as breast cancer.”

The treatment had some truly amazing results. A staggering 49 percent of the trial patients went into complete remission after the treatment, compared with only 13.5 percent of the control group. Also amazing was the fact that only six percent of the trial patients went on to require radical therapy, compared to 30 percent of the control group patients.

A 60-year-old man named Gerald who participated in the trial felt incredibly lucky to have been included. He expressed his delight, saying, “The treatment I received on the trial changed my life. I’m now cancer-free with no side-effects and don’t have to worry about needing surgery in future. I feel so lucky to be in this position.”

While this new treatment offers amazing hope for the future, it is still being reviewed by the European Medicines Agency and is not likely to become a mainstream treatment for the next several years.

In the meantime, there are several ways in which you can naturally reduce your risk of developing prostate cancer.

High levels of the hormone prostate-specific antigen (PSA) have been associated with elevated prostate cancer risk. It, therefore, makes sense to reduce these levels as much as possible. There are certain foods and juices that have been proven to do this naturally, including pomegranate juice, cruciferous vegetables like cabbage and broccoli, garlic, licorice root, turmeric, flaxseed and green tea.

Studies have found that people who have ingested higher levels of certain foods and supplements also have a lower risk of developing prostate cancer later in life. These include vitamin D, boron, zinc (without folic acid) and selenium. (Related: Prostate cancer ELIMINATED by combination of powerful nutrients in apple peels, turmeric root and grape skins.)

Then there are the basics of good health that apply to everybody, not just aging men: Eat plenty of organic, non-GMO fruits and vegetables; develop a daily routine of keeping active; get enough sleep, and reduce and manage your stress levels.

Prevention is always better than cure, and these preventative habits will keep you healthy well into old age.

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