Now, researchers at Memorial Hermann-TMC's Cancer Research Unit under the auspices of the University of Texas - Health & Sciences Center - Houston are conducting a trial to test an innovative vaccine product, BPX-101, that builds on the success of Provenge but will hopefully lead to more effective, longer responses in patients while maintaining their safety and lack of side effects.
During the course of his career, Dr. Slawin, a nationally renowned urologist and prostate specialist, has performed more than 2,000 prostatectomies, consistently averaging between 100 – 150 cases per year for more than a decade. This makes him a member of a small, select group of surgeons in the country that are true experts in the field. In addition, he has done his surgeries with the same assistant for a decade.
Image-Guided Radiotherapy, or IGRT, is the cutting edge in high-dose radiation for prostate cancer treatment, combining the advantages of Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy, or IMRT with improved tracking and targeting of the therapy to the prostate in order to maximize the dose to the prostate while minimizing radiation to the rectum and bladder which can be the cause of side effects.
Prostate Health Index (phi) Addresses USPSTF Concerns, Provides Better Results
A groundbreaking new prostate cancer screening test – now approved today by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and currently available in Europe and Australia – may change the face of screening through its more accurate readings and reduction of false-positive results.
The new screening test – called the “Prostate Health Index (phi)” – combines the PSA and free PSA with a novel, clipped form of the precursor to PSA, called “-2 pro PSA”. This precursor form of PSA – which is more elevated in prostate cancer patients and more accurately identifies the disease – was jointly discovered by Kevin Slawin, M.D., founder of the Vanguard Urologic Institute and the Texas Prostate Center at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, and researchers at Beckman Coulter1. Baylor College of Medicine, where Dr. Slawin was Professor and Director of the Baylor Prostate Centerpracticed at the time, licensed the technology2 exclusively to Beckman Coulter, which then developed the new screening test.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), a panel that does not include urologists or cancer specialists, has just recommended against prostate-specific antigen (PSA)-based screening for prostate cancer, stating that “screening may benefit a small number of men but will result in harm to many others”
The American Association of Clinical Urologists (AACU), in agreement with the American Urological Association and Large Urology Group Practice Association, strongly rejects the recommendation of the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) to downgrade the use of PSA for early detection of prostate cancer to a "D". The key studies used by USPSTF as a basis for this recommendation are severely flawed. Some of the major flaws in the studies include: PSA testing had been performed in many of the "non-screened" control group, there was a relatively short time of follow-up with death from prostate cancer as the endpoint and lastly, no consideration was given to metastatic-free rates as an important outcome. The last point is particularly worrisome because men with metastatic prostate cancer often suffer a protracted painful course before death from the disease.
Testosterone replacement is a topic that receives a lot of attention. If you have seen the multitude of advertisements in print or on television, you are probably familiar with the common symptoms of testosterone deficiency. You may wonder if this sort of therapy would be helpful for you.
Long thought to be a vanity or quality of life issue, more information is being gathered that suggests there may be significant health impacts of persistent low testosterone levels. There have been studies demonstrating links between low testosterone and the metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. Testosterone also helps you maintain muscle mass and proper bone density.
The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force’s recent recommendation against routine PSA screening for prostate cancer in healthy men represents a fundamental philosophical statement about science, medicine, and human psychology and life that needs to be clearly exposed so that it does not appear cloaked in the certainty of a scientific fact.
While not completely devoid of controversy, the “fact set” underlying the widely different interpretations and recommendations regarding PSA-based prostate cancer screening are largely established. Prostate cancer is a major public health problem in this country. In 2010, there were approximately 217,730 new cases of prostate cancer, and 32,050 men died from prostate cancer, the second leading cause of cancer deaths in this country. Against this bleak backdrop, we know that population based PSA screening saves lives. Period. When studied in large, well performed randomized, clinical trials, PSA-based screening results in anywhere from a 20% to 50% reduction in the risk of dying from prostate cancer. However there are caveats that increase the complexity of the interpretation of this seemingly clear result.
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