One of the reasons we know so much about prostate cancer and how best to treat it is that our researchers are among the world’s most skilled — and determined. More than 100 of our clinical scientists and laboratory investigators study the basic biology of prostate cancer to hunt for even better ways to detect it, treat it, and ensure it doesn’t come back, in both the men we care for and all the ones we don’t. We’re constantly looking for tools to more precisely detect prostate cancer, guide our decisions about therapy, monitor response to treatment, and track the progression of cancer over time. Among other approaches, we’re investigating new ways to diagnose and treat prostate cancer, using things like:
- imaging techniques
- immunotherapies that harness the power of the immune system to eliminate cancer cells
- molecular diagnostics that characterize the aggressiveness of a cancer and help determine the best way to kill it
Biomarkers are another area of intensive research at MSK. These biological molecules can provide a clear indication of disease, and we’re increasingly using them in our arsenal of molecular tests for prostate cancer. For example, our physician-scientists are studying the use of an advanced molecular test for PCA3 (prostate cancer antigen 3) using urine. PCA3 is a gene that is specific to prostate cancer — it’s expressed in more than 90 percent of prostate cancer tissue but not in normal prostate tissue — and a simple urine sample can show if the gene is in your urine.
For men with advanced disease, we’re examining the effectiveness of a blood test that may be capable of detecting a single prostate cancer cell among a billion or more healthy cells. Interest in these cells, called circulating tumor cells, has increased with the availability of new technologies to detect, count, and characterize them. This new “liquid biopsy” may offer a noninvasive, highly accurate way to find cancer cells that cannot easily be detected with current methods.
Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials
Our busy research program means that we’re often able to offer men at all clinical states of prostate cancer access to clinical trials of new treatments, sometimes years before they’re widely available. These trials test new drugs and drug combinations, surgical and radiation therapy techniques, innovative diagnostic technologies, and strategies for preserving quality of life for men undergoing treatment. Our experts can help determine which clinical trials are right for you. The following prostate cancer clinical trials at Memorial Sloan Kettering are currently enrolling new patients. To learn more about a study, choose from the list below.