Drug Study Could Boost Prostate Cancer Survivability

This year in the United States, nearly 221,000 men will be told they have prostate cancer. About 30 percent of those cancers will have already spread outside the prostate. Now, doctors have discovered a way to keep it from spreading even further.

Robert Miller is a force in front of his congregation. Preaching is his life's work. His life's battle started 11 years ago when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

"All I heard was the word cancer and I'm thinking cancer, death, cancer, death," Miller tells Ivanhoe.

PSA levels, the markers for prostate cancer, are considered high at four. At diagnosis, Miller's levels were nearly 80. His prostate was removed, but the cancer stayed behind. He soon found oncologist Michael Carducci, M.D.

When prostate cancer spreads, it first goes to the bones. Dr. Carducci is studying the drug atrasentan to keep the cancer from getting there.

Prostate Cancer Protection"This may not necessarily kill cancer cells per se, it may slow prostate cancer down to a trickle," says Dr. Carducci, of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

It does that by targeting endothelin -- a protein overproduced in men with prostate cancer that has spread.

Dr. Carducci  says, "We get to the lock before endothelin does and therefore, the cancer cells never see this growth factor, this protein that really stimulates further growth."

Prostate Cancer ProtectionStudies show there was a 52-percent delay in the time it took for the cancer to progress. Miller still has cancer, but it hasn't reached his bones. He says, "Eleven years ago, I never thought I would see 59. I am satisfied that God allowed me to live this long."