LOCALIZED VS. METASTATIC PROSTATE CANCER
Localized prostate cancer is confined to the prostate gland and is usually cured with surgery or radiation. Metastatic prostate cancer, on the other hand, begins in the prostate but later spreads to distant organs such as the lungs, bone or soft tissue. Unfortunately, metastatic prostate cancer is usually lethal.
Cancer is caused by mutations in DNA. Sequencing tumor genomes for mutations can provide insights into the genetic defects of an individual patient's cancer and in some cases, suggest beneficial therapies that target these specific defects. Unlike other cancer types though, men with metastatic prostate cancer are not routinely tested for tumor mutations because there have not been relevant therapies for common prostate cancer mutations. Also, tumor sequencing can be expensive and is not usually covered by health insurance.
NEW THERAPIES IN CLINICAL TRIALS
A new class of targeted therapy called PARP inhibitors have recently been approved for ovarian cancer and are now being tested in clinical trials for men with metastatic prostate cancer, but only in men with specific tumor mutations. Dozens of additional targeted therapies are in clinical trials for patients with other tumor mutations that occur across a range of cancer types, including prostate cancer.
Stratify Prostate is a national campaign to rapidly expand tumor sequencing and clinical trial options for men with metastatic prostate cancer, with the goal of advancing research and accelerating drug approvals. Stratify Prostate was conceived by leading physicians and researchers from the University of California, San Francisco Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center and Strata Oncology, a tumor genome testing company located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The goal of the campaign is to provide no-cost testing and expanded trial options to 5,000 men with metastatic prostate cancer within two years.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Tumor sequencing is provided by Strata Oncology's CLIA laboratory using its StrataNGS Test, which reports on commonly mutated genes and associated clinical trials. Physicians caring for men with metastatic prostate cancer in the United States can create an account to begin ordering StrataNGS tests immediately. Tests are ordered online by physicians through a secure portal, then a tissue collection kit is provided and patient's leftover tumor material is shipped to Strata Oncology for testing. No payment or billing information is required. Test reports and potential clinical trial options are provided online to physicians within 7-10 days.
Testing is provided at no-cost by patient participation in a simple observational study sponsored by Strata Oncology, called the Strata Trial. The aim of the study is to better understand the frequency of tumor mutations in metastatic cancer and the utility of tumor genome testing in selecting treatments and clinical trials. The study is conducted virtually and no patient interaction is required with study staff. In some cases, the study team may contact the physician to document treatment selection.
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