Upstate opens clinical trial to test prostate cancer pain treatment

Upstate Medical University is the only clinical site in Syracuse accepting patients for a clinical trial to test a new drug to alleviate prostate cancer pain.

Upstate’s participation in the clinical trial is headed by Bernard Poiesz, MD, professor of medicine. Titled the Prostate Cancer SATURN Study, this clinical trial is designed to test whether adding an experimental drug called custirsen to chemotherapy will reduce prostate cancer pain. Custirsen is an experimental drug that is designed to block the production of a protein that is associated with treatment resistance in many cancers. Clinical studies to date suggest that custirsen may improve overall survival and reduce prostate cancer-related pain.

When prostate cancer spreads to the bone—which it often does—it can be very painful, making it difficult to perform simple daily tasks such as standing up, getting dressed, and walking. Drugs that are commonly used to manage the pain, like narcotics such as morphine, can be difficult to take and tolerate.

The Prostate Cancer SATURN Study is a Phase 3 study—the final stage of testing before a drug can be approved and become commercially available. In a Phase 3 clinical trial, a drug or treatment is given to large groups of people to confirm its effectiveness, monitor side effects, compare it to standard treatments and collect information that will allow the drug or treatment to be used safely, if approved for use by the FDA.

To be eligible for the study, individuals must:

• have metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer

• have received Taxotere® (docetaxel) chemotherapy in the past

• be experiencing pain, that it is currently stable

• taking narcotic medication(s) to manage your prostate cancer-related pain

Additionally, the disease must now have progressed and additional chemotherapy indicated to be a treatment option by a physician.

Trial participants will either receive custirsen or placebo (inactive treatment that does not contain custirsen) plus chemotherapy.

For more information on enrolling for the study, call 1-877-888-3762.

Caption: Bernard Poiesz, MD, will lead a clinical trial at Upstate Medical University to test a new drug to alleviate prostate cancer pain. Dr. Poiesz is professor of medicine and medical director of the Regional Oncology Center at Upstate Medical University.

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