UCSF & GE Team Up to Study Prostate Cancer

The following article was written by John Kurhanewicz, PhD, Professor in the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging and Director of the Prostate Cancer Imaging Group at UCSF.

Every year, more than 200,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer and 28,000 die from it.  It is one of the most common cancers in men in the United States and also one of the leading causes of cancer death in men.  Prostate cancer really is quite variable person to person.  In some men, it is extremely slow-growing and mild; in others, it is terribly aggressive.  Within the medical community, there is a lot of debate over the best way to fight the disease in patients.  And patients must often make difficult decisions about treatment without completely understanding which type of disease they have.

This week, UCSF announced a potential new test which is about to enter Phase 1 clinical trials, which will use a special MRI exam to help doctors look at not just the prostate cancer tumor itself, but also how fast it is growing, and how quickly it is responding to any medicine or treatment.  This special MRI uses a new technique to actually measure and visualize changes in real time, as the tumor responds to treatment.  This potentially will help oncologists and patients make quicker and better decisions tailored to each patient’s tumor type.

Scientists from UCSF and GE have worked together to model this metabolic imaging technique in animals, and now are excited to try it experimentally in patients.  I should mention that the test is not yet FDA-approved or available commercially, but we are enrolling patients in clinical trials , and you can find out more information about whether you or someone you know is eligible for the trial by calling 415-353-9452.