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'Ocean Bacteria' Injection Is the Latest Prostate Cancer Treatment

Dec 22, 2016 08:19 AM EST
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A new experiment has shown that seabed bacteria are an effective prostate cancer killer, resulting to half of patients in the experiment having complete remission.

According to The Telegraph, the process called vascular-targeted photodynamic therapy (VTP) included injecting the drug WSTII, which is derived from the bacteria extracted from the bottom of the ocean. The ability of the bacteria to convert light into energy was mimicked by the WSTII.

When the same property is exploited, the WSTII released free radicals and destroys tumour tissue, while leaving healthy tissue unharmed. The dug is activated using laser.

The method was developed by the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel and company STEBA Biotech and led trials on prostate cancer patients was conducted by University College London researchers.

As reported by Science Alert, the nonsurgical treatment was used in a broad clinical trial, involving 47 treatment sites across 10 different European countries. Following the VTP, results showed that 49 percent of patients with early prostate cancer (low-risk, localised prostate cancer) went into complete remission, compared with 13.5 percent in the control group who was not given the VTP. Fifteen of the more than 200 men who were treated said they had difficulty in urinating afterwards.

"These results are excellent news for men with early localized prostate cancer, offering a treatment that can kill cancer without removing or destroying the prostate," says lead investigator Professor Mark Emberton, Dean of UCL Medical Sciences and Consultant Urologist at UCLH, in a press release.

"This is truly a huge leap forward for prostate cancer treatment, which has previously lagged decades behind other solid cancers such as breast cancer. In 1975 almost everyone with breast cancer was given a radical mastectomy, but since then treatments have steady improved and we now rarely need to remove the whole breast. In prostate cancer we are still commonly removing or irradiating the whole prostate, so the success of this new tissue-preserving treatment is welcome news indeed."

The Medical Daily notes that the VTP is largely helpful to patients with early stage of prostate cancer. Instead of undergoing the Radical Therapy which results to erectile dysfunction through damaging or removing the prostate and healthy tissue, the VTP does not.

The study was published in The Lancet Oncology.

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