Prostate cancer got a kick in the pants Thursday when researchers presented a new promising drug that greatly improves survival rates in patients.
The experimental drug, named MDV3100, reduced the risk of death in prostate cancer patients by 37 percent over a placebo, according to research at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
The drug isn't ready for the market yet as researchers undergo a second phase III trial in patients with cancer that has spread who have not undergone chemotherapy.
The results were presented at the 2012 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium in San Francisco Thursday.
It's a great new drug. It is specifically designed for patients with advanced prostate cancer that progressed despite other treatments, Daniel Danila, medical oncologist and participating researcher, told NY1. It has been used with patients post-chemotherapy. It's still a hormone, so it's very well tolerated and it shrinks prostate tumors and drops the PSA.
PSA, prostate-specific antigen, is one indicator of prostate cancer that doctors can test for.
Prostate cancer affects an estimated quarter million men each year. The clinical trial included 1,200 men and in November, the trial stopped to allow patients on the placebo to receive the promising drug. The drug added an extra five months of life in prostate cancer patients. Prostate cancer patients lived 18.4 months compared with 13.6 months of survival for men on the placebo.
Wow! Very impressive! said Nicholas Vogelzang, a renowned cancer research with US Oncology Research, who moderated a presscast of the results. The 18.4-month median survival is unprecedented.
MDV3100 blocks male hormones and is the first oral androgen receptor signaling inhibitor in development to fight prostate cancer, according to its maker Medivation.
Stock in the San Francisco-based company (MDVN) rose 34 percent in Nasdaq due to the promising trial; $74.41 per share in Tuesday trading from $55.53 seven days before.
The drug works by binding to androgen receptors and blocking the hormone that inhibits fat storage, promotes muscle development and helps generate sperm.
It took about two weeks for my PSA to go from the high 20s to zero, and it's been zero ever since, 81-year-old patient John O'Mara told NY1.
It is not perfect for everybody. But I do look at the future, even though I'm quite an old man, with a great deal more confidence, said O'Mara, one of the first patients to receive the experimental drug.
For more information about how to sign up for the drug trial, contact Medivation company officials at firstname.lastname@example.org. Prostate cancer patients can also find information about ongoing trials at ClinicalTrials.gov, a website that curates federally-funded clinical trials.
Researchers said they hoped to make the drug more available to men within the next year.