Henry Ford Hospital is embarking on an expanded major clinical trial involving the use of gene therapy in combination with radiation therapy, to determine if the combined treatment is more effective than radiation therapy alone for patients with intermediate risk prostate cancer.
The clinical trial is part of a $9 million grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) awarded to Henry Ford to study the effectiveness of gene therapy to treat prostate cancer.
“As part of this research grant we have had encouraging results involving two smaller clinical studies,” says Svend Freytag, Ph.D., division head of Research, Radiation Oncology, Henry Ford Hospital.
Dr. Freytag, along with Benjamin Movsas, M.D., chair of Radiation Oncology and Hans Stricker, M.D., vice chair of Urology at Henry Ford Hospital are the study’s key researchers.
Because of the results from the previous trials, NCI approved a phase III trial involving 280 prostate cancer patients over a three-year period. A phase III trial is the final stage in a study to determine if the treatment being studied should become the standard treatment.
Currently radiation therapy (without the gene therapy) or surgical removal of the prostate is the standard treatment for patients with localized prostate cancer, with similar cure rates. Prostate Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death for men according to the American Cancer Society.
“When you consider that across the world most trials involving gene therapy are in very early stages of development involving research in test tubes, the fact that Henry Ford Hospital is now embarking on a major phase III clinical trial to test this as a new standard treatment, is a testament to the world class innovative research taking place right here,” says Dr. Movsas, principal investigator of the study. “To my knowledge, this is the only place in the world where such a gene therapy study is available for this group of patients,” he adds.
Source: Henry Ford Health System, USA