TORONTO, Feb. 17, 2012 /CNW/ - Dr. Nicole Onetto, Deputy Director and
Chief Scientific Officer of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research
(OICR), today announced the launch of an innovative Phase III clinical
trial that aims to determine whether multi-parametric magnetic
resonance imaging (MRI) coupled with transrectal ultrasound (TRUS)
guided biopsy (called fusion technology) can accurately identify men
with prostate cancer who are at risk of developing aggressive disease.
The study, called the Active Surveillance Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Study Trial (ASIST), recently enrolled its first 10 patients.
Researchers are aiming to enroll 275 men over the next three years who
have recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer, with primary
analysis planned one year after study recruitment is complete.
"The goal of this study is to provide new and useful information to help
decide which patients would benefit from aggressive treatment and which
would benefit from active surveillance," said Dr. Onetto. "This would
improve the cure rate in those who have high-risk disease while
reducing the number of patients now choosing radical treatment when it
is not warranted. This could improve quality of life for hundreds of
thousands of men worldwide."
Many prostate cancers are not aggressive and patients can benefit from
active surveillance, a strategy where a patient's tumour is monitored
over time to establish whether it is harmful or not. Currently many men
choose to have surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation instead of active
surveillance because it is not possible to reliably assess the
prognosis of low-risk tumours. Because side effects of these treatments
are often serious and long lasting, determining with certainty whether
they are necessary provides a huge long-term benefit to patients.
The Study is Chaired by Dr. Laurence Klotz, Professor of Surgery at the
University of Toronto and an Associate Scientist at Sunnybrook Health
Sciences Centre, and Co-chaired by Dr. Masoom Haider, Head of Abdominal
MRI at the Joint Department of Medical Imaging at Princess Margaret
Hospital and Mount Sinai Hospital and Dr. Andrew Loblaw, Scientist and
Radiation Oncologist at the Odette Cancer Centre at Sunnybrook Health
"A positive trial could change clinical practice and result in the
widespread adoption of MRI targeted biopsies, enhanced with the TRUS
fusion technology, to help prostate cancer patients worldwide," said
Dr. Klotz. "The MRI fusion technology could identify those patients
needing immediate therapy. This would reduce cancer mortality for
patients with more aggressive disease and provide significant
reassurance and increase the appeal of active surveillance for subjects
with less aggressive forms."
"The current biopsy process is blind, involving 12 or more random needle
samples," said Dr. Haider. "We need a 'manogram' to help detect and
direct a needle to any potential hidden aggressive cancer. If this
trial is positive, MRI will save lives and reduce morbidity by enabling
better detection of occult aggressive disease with far fewer biopsies."
This study was made possible as a result of technology developed with
OICR funding by Dr. Aaron Fenster, co-director of OICR's Smarter
Imaging Program and Imaging Translation Platform and Director, Imaging
Research Laboratories, Robarts Research Institute and now manufactured
by Eigen. "MRI fusion technology is the product of years of work by
Ontario researchers," said Dr. Fenster. "The ASIST study presents an
exciting opportunity to use this technology right here in Ontario to
help improve treatment options for patients worldwide."
Active surveillance is increasingly recognized as being crucially
important to reducing the overtreatment of non-aggressive disease while
retaining the option of definitive therapy for those patients
reclassified over time as higher risk. There are approximately 150,000
new patients diagnosed in North America each year who are candidates
for active surveillance and this number is expected to increase
dramatically over the next two decades.
OICR is providing $2.8 million in funding over five years for the study.
The study is a joint effort by three Ontario clinical centres: the
London Health Sciences Centre in London, and Sunnybrook Health Sciences
Centre and the University Health Network in Toronto. The ASIST study is
being coordinated and managed by the Canadian Urology Research
Consortium. The Ontario Clinical Oncology Group in Hamilton, led by Dr.
Mark Levine, Department of Oncology, McMaster University will provide
clinical data management and biostatistics support.
OICR is an innovative cancer research and development institute
dedicated to prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of
cancer. The Institute is an independent, not-for-profit corporation,
launched by the Government of Ontario in 2005. The annual budget for
OICR, its research partners and collaborators exceeds $160 million.
This supports more than 1,500 investigators, clinician scientists,
research staff and trainees located at its headquarters and in research
institutes and academia across the Province of Ontario. It has research
hubs in Hamilton, Kingston, London, Ottawa, Thunder Bay and Toronto.
OICR has key research efforts underway in small molecules, biologics,
stem cells, imaging, genomics, informatics and bio-computing, from
early stage research to Phase III clinical trials. For more
information, please visit the website at www.oicr.on.ca
SOURCE Ontario Institute for Cancer Research
For further information:
Ontario Institute for Cancer Research
Contact: Christopher Needles
Manager, Editorial Services and Media Relations