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The BIG Drive Home

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First prostate cancer precision medicines a ‘breakthrough’, charity says

Written by on 21 September 2020

New treatments for advanced prostate cancer have been called a “breakthrough” by a leading cancer charity.

Olaparib and ipatasertib have the potential to become the first precision medicines for -the disease, according to research presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology’s Virtual Congress 2020.

Precision medicines allow doctors to select the treatments most likely to help patients based on a genetic understanding of their illness.

Number of men dying from prostate cancer hits new UK high

Olaparib, which is already approved for breast cancer patients, has been shown to slow progression of prostate cancer in men whose tumours contain certain gene defects.

Trials of ipatasertib – another drug designed to treat men whose cancers lack a specific gene called PTEN – have also shown positive early results.

Dr Matthew Hobbs, Director of Research at Prostate Cancer UK, said the results “mark a new era for prostate cancer treatment”.

He said: “These results are hugely exciting and together represent a real breakthrough for men with advanced prostate cancer.

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“Olaparib and ipatasertib mark a new era for prostate cancer treatment – one based on a detailed understanding of each man’s cancer rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

“None of this would have been possible without early investment from Prostate Cancer UK, which funded the research paving the way to these two new treatments.

“Precision medicines like these hold enormous potential and could radically reduce the number of men dying from prostate cancer by ensuring they receive the best possible treatment for their cancer.

“That’s why we’re continuing to fund research to ensure more men can benefit from precision treatments in the future and ultimately reduce the number of men dying from the disease.”

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and the second most common cancer in the UK.

More than 47,500 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year, or 129 each day, according to the charity’s latest figures from September 2018.

Around 400,000 men are living with the disease.