Prostate matters is a not for profit organisation committed to providing free information about prostate issues from leading Clinical Authorities.

Prostate cancer treatment – Immunotherapy

Mr Alan Doherty Copnsultant Urological Surgeon

Overview by Name
Position and residency

Immunotherapy for prostate cancer

Under development

T-cells attacking cancer cell illustration of microscopic photos

Cancer Immunotherapy, also known as Immuno-oncology, is a form of cancer treatment that uses the body’s immune system to destroy cancer cells

In theory Immunotherapy can:

  • Educate the immune system to recognize and attack specific cancer cells
  • Boost immune cells to help them eliminate cancer
  • Provide the body with additional components to enhance the immune response

It is regarded as a very important area of research because:

  • The immune system is precise, so it is possible for it to target cancer cells exclusively while sparing healthy cells.
  • The immune system adapts continuously and dynamically, just like cancer does, so if a tumour manages to escape detection, the immune system can re-evaluate and launch a new attack.
  • The immune system’s “memory” allows it to remember what cancer cells look like, so it can target and eliminate the cancer if it returns.

To date, Prostate cancer treatment using immunotherapy has lagged behind other cancers in terms of effectiveness for biological reasons that are not fully understand. However, there is a lot of potential for this type of treatment.

An early-stage trial in the UK of the immunotherapy drug, pembrolizumab, undertaken by the Institute of Cancer Research, has proven it to be effective for a small number of men with incurable disease.

The Research found five per cent of the 258 men it treated with pembrolizumab saw their tumours shrink or disappear, and now research is focused on what makes these men’s cancers susceptible. Where the therapy worked seems to be related to a cancer cells DNA repair genes mutation. ie genes that mend damage to the cells

A new clinical trial, specifically for men with prostate cancer whose tumours have these mutations in these DNA repair genes is underway to see if immunotherapy can become a standard part of their treatment.

Patients can only access Immunotherapy in the UK via clinical trials.

To find out what prostate cancer treatment trials are currently recruiting, click the button to access the Cancer Research UK trials database which will inform you of other Immunotherapy for prostate cancer trials that maybe taking place.

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