Prostate cancer: The right drug to the right patient at the right time.
A new clinical trial, opening across Canada, is considered a major advancement in precision medicine for prostate cancer and the first of its kind in the world.
The IND.234 clinical trial, conducted by the Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG), uses liquid biopsy technology to screen for genomic markers in prostate cancer patients. A liquid biopsy looks for signs of cancer in a person’s bodily fluid – most often blood, but also urine, saliva, semen or other fluids.
After a blood test (liquid biopsy) analysis, patients with specific DNA markers are assigned to one of five new therapies that will treat their unique form of prostate cancer. Researchers want to see if the markers identified in the screening process can help predict which patients will be helped the most by the targeted treatments.
“There is an urgent need to find more effective therapies for men with advanced prostate cancer and an individual’s cancer is unique, so a one-size-fits-all solution may not be the best,” says Dr. Kim Chi, Medical Oncologist, and Medical Director at BC Cancer leading the trial. “We want to identify men whose cancers will have the best chance to respond to the experimental new drug therapies we are testing in this trial.”
Jim, one of the first trial participants being treated at Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre, shares his experience, “When I was first diagnosed with prostate cancer, I understood that this type of cancer was not good. When my oncologist offered me the chance to receive a new potential treatment, I was willing to try anything that might make a difference. They sent my blood to be tested in BC and then I was enrolled, it was simple — now I take my pills and track any side effects.”
Canadian research innovation and collaboration
“The technology and computation required to study a person’s cancer using only a blood sample is very novel and experimental. This team has helped lead the charge for liquid biopsies to be part of prostate cancer clinical research,” says Dr. Alexander Wyatt who is leading the DNA analysis and is a Senior Research Scientist at the Vancouver Prostate Centre and the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute. “Few other research studies in the world are able to draw upon this combination of advanced prostate cancer focus and liquid biopsy tools.”
IND.234 is the first trial that evaluates a precision medicine approach for patients with advanced prostate cancer using liquid biopsies for genomic testing.