November 30, 2011 14:56 ET

Study: Preventing Prostate Cancer Recurrence

Prostate Cancer Expert Dr. David Samadi Uses Robotic Prostatectomy Surgery to Prevent Prostate Cancer Recurrence; Skeptical of BMP7 Protein Therapy Application

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Nov 30, 2011) - Researchers at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine recently published findings they believe could lead to a new protein therapy for the delay or prevention of prostate cancer recurrence after treatment. Their study indicates that BMP7, a bone morphogenetic protein, has the potential to lull remaining prostate cancer tumor cells into hibernation thereby preventing further growth and spread.

As Vice Chairman, Department of Urology, and Chief of Robotics and Minimally Invasive Surgery at The Mount Sinai Medical Center, Dr. David Samadi is familiar with studies exploring the link between BMPs and cancer growth, but believes the prevention of prostate cancer recurrence is best achieved through robotic prostate surgery.

"For patients with localized prostate cancer, robotic surgery saves lives," says Dr. Samadi. Through his own SMART (Samadi Modified Advanced Robotic Technique) surgery, Dr. Samadi is able to remove the cancerous prostate with precision and minimal impact on the surrounding area. Beyond the technological advancements of robotic surgery, surgical visualization of the cancer allows him to pinpoint its location and carefully remove it all. Further, during a standard prostatectomy the nearby lymph nodes are also removed providing certainty that no cancer cells remain.

Because of the protein affect they witnessed, the Southern Illinois researchers concluded that prostate cancer patients whose tumors contain BMPR2, a binding partner of BMP7's, would be less likely to experience recurrence of their disease than those whose tumors do not contain the protein. Further, they found that removing the protein spurred the cancer to wake and begin growing again. "This study was conducted on mice, not humans with prostate cancer," explains Dr. Samadi, "Research in the lab is very different than actual patient results."

Dr. Samadi also believes it's important to understand that these findings are related to the growth of prostate cancer cells only; they are not tied to recurrence after any particular type of prostate cancer treatment. "What we're really talking about here is the growth of prostate cancer cells after detection, not just after treatment," he says, "and in my opinion the best course of action after detection is surgery."

The annual PSA prostate cancer screening is an excellent line of defense, believes Dr. Samadi. It provides valuable information that experts can use to identify the presence of prostate cancer and act on it. "The idea of prostate cancer cells lying dormant in the body is not a comforting thought," says Dr. Samadi. "I'm skeptical of the success of a potential treatment that would simply put the tumor at rest. The same is true of 'watchful waiting' without treatment. The emotional and physical toll of worrying about the cancer's spread or recurrence is unnecessary. Robotic surgery removes the prostate cancer in full and gives men valuable peace of mind."

The Southern Illinois University School of Medicine report was published in The Journal of Experimental Medicine, November 2011.

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