The Achille’s heel of prostate cancer is testosterone
Prostate cancer is a man only affection and it is the second type of cancer affecting the male population, right after the skin related one. Worldwide, it rates among the highest death causes, concerning men of all races and more than 200,000 are diagnosed with this affection every year in the US alone. Out of these, 10% will die because of that yearly, most of them, over 60%, being 65 years old or older.
The causes are quite a few and can influence the development of the prostate cancer differently among the population. Age is one of the most important cause because the disease will often occur after the age of 60-65. In very few cases it will affect people younger than 45. The genetic inheritance is placed second in importance and those whose father had the affection, are twice more likely to develop it too, as compared to genetic-free subjects.
Other causes include: irregular diets, combining excessive amounts of red meat, not enough vegetables and fruits and even the lack of vitamin D, lacking proper physical activity, extensive use of anti-inflammatory drugs, obesity, STDs, exposure to Agent Orange, which will boost the risk by 50% and even vasectomy in some cases.
An experimental treatment has eradicated prostate cancer
Until now, the bad news was that we only had ways to contain the prostate cancer and prevent it from spreading, rather than treat it. And these methods only worked when the disease was discovered in time so that it would not be advanced enough.
There are mainly 4 known treatments used in the early stages of the disease:
- Brachytherapy – Resides in implanting radioactive agents into the affected area
- Intensity modulated radiotherapy – Using radioactive beams of variable intensities to bombard the tumors
- Conformal therapy – Aiming to minimize the impact on the healthy tissues, because the intensity used is a bit higher than normal
- Prostatectomy – It refers to the surgical removal of the prostate
Now, another treatment has been developed, believed to represent the future in coping with this particular affection. Patient 0 has been cured using an experimental hormone therapy, which relied on bombarding the tumors with concentrated levels of testosterone. The results were quite impressive and were successfully replicated using other test subjects as well.
As a result of the therapy, the tumors began to shrink and enter remission and all of the symptoms related to prostate cancer were greatly reduced. Out of the 47 individuals who were part of the study, almost all experienced great improvements, way over the initial predictions. The remaining few did not reach the same levels, but the modifications were present in them too, nonetheless.
Out of them, one subject’s organism, in particular, showed so little markers in his body that the disease was considered gone entirely. The treatment basically relied on several cycles called BAT (Bipolar Androgen Therapy), during which their organisms were filled with testosterone, then greatly depleted for several cycles in a row, minimum 3. After 22, the results were considerably, showing the tumors being almost extinguished.
The interesting fact is that, previous to this test, it was commonly believed that testosterone actually worsens the situation. According to the tests results, testosterone was fueling the prostate cancer cells and support their intense replication, which is why researchers were usually lowering the levels of this male hormone in order to control the situation.
However, this new and revolutionary technique relies not on raising the testosterone levels, but to shock the body by altering the high with the low levels by using injections over an extended period of time. This method proved that the prostate cancer cells subjected to the treatment became numb and mostly benign, ceasing the replication pattern altogether.
As a result, the disease was contained and the symptoms greatly diminished in intensity, even eradicated. However, it seems like the BAT therapy was only useful in those found in the initial stages of the disease. When the affection was too advanced and the symptoms too virulent, it had little effect. But the first step has already been made.
The deputy director of research at the Prostate Cancer research center in the UK declared that the findings are not definitive since there is a lot more work to be done before releasing the method to the general public. But that it is definitely a major breakthrough in the field of prostate cancer research.