The Urology Center of Colorado Takes the Next Step in Offering Novel Treatment Therapies to Patients Diagnosed with Urologic Cancers

December 17, 2011

Today, The Urology Center of Colorado (TUCC) Clinical Research Department announced that it is one of the first sites in the nation to enroll patients in clinical trials assessing autologous cellular immunotherapies for the treatment of prostate and urothelial (bladder) cancer. This type of therapy “trains” a patient’s immune system to fight cancerous tumors. Following the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approval of the first immunotherapy (PROVENGE® sipuleucel-T) in early 2010, this type of therapy represents a breakthrough treatment alternative for cancer patients worldwide.

An autologous, which means made from a patient’s own immune cells, cellular immunotherapy is designed to stimulate a patient’s immune system to identify and target cancer cells. The treatment process is administered intravenously. It involves a physician introducing a patient’s immune cells to a protein that functions as a specific cancer associated antigen to cause an immune response. As a result, the patient’s immune cells are activated to better fight the disease.

TUCC is currently enrolling patients in two different autologous cellular immunotherapy trials:

  1. The first trial is open to patients diagnosed with high-grade urothelial (bladder) cancer.
  2. The second trial is open to non-metastatic prostate cancer patients. It is testing the efficacy of PROVENGE immunotherapy on a different type of prostate cancer patient to see if the treatment has the same kind of effect.

“Immunotherapies offer an important treatment approach for cancer in comparison to chemotherapy, surgery or radiation therapy,“ said Lawrence Karsh, M.D., C.P.I., director of the TUCC Clinical Research Department. “This is the future of cancer care. By continuing to test the efficacy of this treatment approach in patients with varied diagnoses and treatment stages, we are able to get a better understanding of the long-term benefit of immunotherapy for patients diagnosed with urologic cancers. The TUCC Clinical Research Department’s participation in these trials illustrates our commitment to providing patients in the Rocky Mountain region with access to tomorrow’s urologic therapies today.”

The FDA’s approval of PROVENGE in 2010 resulted in an increased focus on the use of immunotherapy to treat cancer. The PROVENGE immunotherapy is specifically designed for men with advanced (metastatic) prostate cancer. During its clinical trial phases, Provenge was shown to add a median of four months to the lives of these men. It also reduced the risk of death by 22.5 percent compared with those in the control group enrolled in the clinical trials.

TUCC is the only research site in the Rocky Mountain region to offer patients access to these immunotherapy specific clinical trials. The center is also an established PROVENGE treatment site.

About Prostate Cancer:
According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in the U.S. and the third most common cancer worldwide. One in six American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Colorado today, with more than 3,000 men expected to be diagnosed this year.

About Urothelial (Bladder) Cancer:
The urothelium is a layer of tissue that lines the urethra, bladder, ureters, prostate and renal pelvis. Bladder cancer is the most common type of urothelial cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 70,000 Americans will be diagnosed with bladder cancer this year, making it the fifth most commonly diagnosed cancer in the country. Smokers are twice as likely to be diagnosed with bladder cancer than those who have never picked up a cigarette.

The nationally recognized TUCC Clinical Research Department participates in all phases of clinical trials for a variety of urologic conditions. In 2008, the department was awarded acceptance into the Society of Urologic Oncology Clinical Trials Consortium. TUCC is one of only 22 large urology groups in the country with this designation.

For more information about the immunotherapy clinical trials currently taking place at TUCC or to see if you qualify for another clinical trial, please visit www.tucc.com or call 303.825.TUCC (8822).