BY MARK SCHOLZ, MD
Every year’s Conference presents recurring themes. This year’s focus was prevention, combination treatment and timeliness were emphasized. We live in an era of exploding technological progress. It is a delightful problem to have a wealth of new treatment options and diagnostic tools. However, just like buying a new car or a new smart phone, it takes a little time to learn the ropes and fully exploit the complete range and capabilities of the new technology. A short blog can’t cover everything from a three-day conference. Here are a few comments.
Dr. Dan Margolis, an expert on prostate imaging from UCLA, presented information on 3 Telsa, multi-parametric MRI’s capacity as a substitute for random needle biopsy in men with elevated PSA who have never been previously diagnosed with prostate cancer. MRI offers the advantage of being equally or more accurate than random biopsy without relying on invasive techniques.
Dr. Charles Drake, from John Hopkins, the preeminent expert in the world on immune therapy for prostate cancer, presented exciting data on how many of the new immune drugs work synergistically when given in combination. “Synergism” means that when either drug is given by itself the anticancer effect is rather modest. But when the two drugs are given in combination, the anticancer effect is multiplied. Provenge has already been FDA approved for prostate cancer. Hopefully Yervoy will also be an approved indication for prostate cancer in the next six to 12 months. The combination of these two drugs together offers immense hope for jumpstarting immunologic treatment for prostate cancer.
Dr. John Mulhall, the expert in the world on sexuality and prostate cancer from Memorial Sloan Kettering, spent a lot of time emphasizing mindfulness in the selection of treatment. In other words, he was saying that it is better to minimize damage by selecting the least toxic form of prostate cancer treatment than trying to fix an already established problem.=
Dr. Peter Grimm, sometimes called “The Father of Seed Implant Therapy,” delivered a candid overview of the world of radiation therapy, emphasizing the improved cure rates and reduced toxicity seed implant therapy offers. He also spoke on how increased financial incentives to do IMRT, Proton therapy and SBRT, distorts the decision making process and slants treatment away from seed implants.
This is only the briefest of overviews and no words can express all the fun and games that Dr. Mark Moyad injected into the proceedings. I can only say that initial feedback from the attendees was extremely positive.
2015 PCRI Conference DVDs, which include all the presentations, will be available in six weeks at a suggested donation of $150. For more information, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, the PCRI will be presenting its second annual Mid-Year Update, March 26, 2016, an afternoon of educational sessions in developments in the prostate cancer world. Laurence Klotz, MD who has been called “The Father of Active Surveillance” will be one of the speakers. Click here for more information.
More about Dr. Scholz:
A board-certified medical oncologist, Mark C. Scholz, MD, serves as medical director of Prostate Oncology Specialists Inc. in Marina del Rey, CA, a medical practice exclusively focused on prostate cancer. He is also the Executive Director of the Prostate Cancer Research Institute. He received his medical degree from Creighton University in Omaha, NE. Dr. Scholz completed his Internal Medicine internship and Medical Oncology fellowship at University of Southern California Medical Center. He is the co-author of the book Invasion of the Prostate Snatchers: No More Unnecessary Biopsies, Radical Treatment or Loss of Potency. He is a strong advocate for patient empowerment.