A man suffering from advanced prostate cancer appears to have been cured after doctors shocked his tumor to death using large amounts of testosterone.
Testosterone And Prostate Cancer
Testosterone serves as fuel for prostate cancer, which is why most therapies for the condition work by depriving tumors of the male hormone.
Researchers were surprised of the result of the experimental therapy because it involved flooding the man's body with the very hormone believed to drive the growth of tumors, and it isn't just him who has experienced positive results from the therapy.
The other patients who took part in the same trial also exhibited positive responses. Progress of their disease has stopped, and their tumors were found to be shrinking.
Bipolar Androgen Therapy
The trial involves three cycles of bipolar androgen therapy or BAT. The treatment alternately floods and starves the body of testosterone.
Men with advanced prostate cancer are traditionally treated by reducing the supply or blocking the effects of testosterone, but for BAT, the patients are receiving high doses of the male hormone once in every 28 days while also being given a drug that stopped the natural production of testosterone.
By looking at the levels of the Prostate Specific Antigen or PSA, a blood marker that serves as tracker of prostate cancer, researchers found that the disease fell in most of the 47 patients who were involved in the study.
The results in one individual, however, stood out. After 22 cycles of the treatment, the patient was found to have little of the marker in his body, and there were no traces of the disease that doctors said he appeared to have been cured.
"Our goal is to shock the cancer cells by exposing them rapidly to very high followed by very low levels of testosterone in the blood," said Sam Denmeade, from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who led the study.
"I think we may have cured one man whose PSA dropped to zero after three months and has remained so now for 22 cycles. His disease has all disappeared."
Prostate Cancer In The US
Prostate Cancer is the most common cancer among men in the United States next to skin cancer. For 2016, the American Cancer Society estimates that there would be more than 180,000 new cases of prostate cancer in the U.S.
About one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, but the experimental therapy brings hope for prostate cancer sufferers.