Immunotherapy for Prostate Cancer
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What Makes Immunotherapy a Promising Treatment for Prostate Cancer?

Reviewed By: Sumit K. Subudhi, M.D., Ph.D.
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

As the second most common male cancer in the world, prostate cancer affects roughly 1.1 million people and kills more than 300,000 people each year, which represents about 4% of all cancer deaths worldwide. Prostate cancer, the eight leading cause of cancer-related deaths, will impact an estimated 1 in every 7 men in their lifetimes.

In its early stages, prostate cancer is highly treatable, with 5-year survival rates close to 100%. When the cancer has metastasized, however, the survival rate of prostate cancer falls to less than 30%, highlighting a significant need for more effective treatment of advanced stage disease. Hormone therapy is often the first line of defense, which chemotherapy is normally limited to cases of metastatic prostate cancer.

In the field of immunotherapy, prostate cancer has seen much promise and potential in changing the way this disease is treated and cured. In 2010,  sipuleucel-T, a cell-base vaccine, became the first prostate cancer immunotherapy approved by the FDA, with numerous other immune-based treatments following later.

In cases where the patient's prostate cancer is resistant to testosterone level reduction via hormone therapy, treatment options are few.. As such, most current developing immunotherapies for prostate cancer are investigating the more targeted treatment of advanced stage disease. Prostate cancer immunotherapy studies are being conducted in the following seven categories: therapeutic vaccines, oncolytic virus therapies, checkpoint inhibitors, adoptive cell therapies, adjuvant immunotherapies, cytokines, and monoclonal antibodies.

Are you a patient or caregiver interested in learning more about cancer immunotherapy treatment and clinical trials? If so, visit our Patient section on immunotherapy for prostate cancer.

CRI's Impact on Prostate Cancer

At the Cancer Research Institute, we’re invested in the promise of effective prostate cancer immunotherapy treatment and dedicated to developing lifesaving cures for all cancers. That's why we've provided nearly 100 research grants to scientific studies and initiatives in the field of prostate cancer, totaling more than $26 million in financial support.

In fact, $9 million of this funding was given in conjunction with the CRI Prostate Cancer Initiative—a program started in 1996 to support clinical research promising the most readily available and immediate benefits to prostate cancer patients. The CRI Prostate Cancer Initiative also aims to improve prostate cancer patient outreach and increase public awareness of the disease.

Our organization has also participated in cooperative efforts to develop informative resources and materials for prostate cancer patients in close partnership with national nonprofit ZERO's patient support program.

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*Immunotherapy results may vary from patient to patient.