Canada has over 60Prostate Cancer Support Groupsthat meet once a month. This Richmond group in British Columbia is founded in 2013 by volunteers and focused on providing help to Chinese-speaking men, but everyone is welcome. We speak English, Cantonese and Mandarin, meet onthe second Thursday of every monthfrom 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at the Seniors Centre of Minoru Centre for Active Living (7191 Granville Avenue, Richmond, BC V6Y 1N9 Multipurpose Room 1 (1033)). Join us forthe professional presentation and talk to other men and family members who have been dealing with prostate cancer for weeks, months or even years.
No registration is required and all ages are welcome. Please swipe your Facility Pass ($28/year for seniors 55+ or spouses) or pay a $4.3 drop-in fee at the front desk when arriving for each session.
If you want to chat one on one with a survivor, you may drop in our walking club.The Richmond Blue Walkerswalk 5-10 km on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 am-11 am, along the beautiful river dykes and parks in Richmond (Walk in the Richmond Shopping Centre during the rainy days or cold seasons). Click here for the scheduleor contact Daniel Leung at 604-836-6423 for the locations and meeting places.
A potential treatment for advanced prostate cancer developed by the University of British Columbia (UBC) and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI) scientists has been licensed to pharmaceutical company Roche, marking UBC’s largest licensing agreement to date.
Developed at the Vancouver Prostate Centre, the new drug technology that is in pre-clinical development could one day be used to treat prostate cancers that have become resistant to existing treatments. The Vancouver Prostate Centre is a research hub hosted by UBC and VCHRI and designated a national Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research.
“We are thrilled that a potential treatment discovered here in B.C. will be developed further and could help many patients dealing with this disease,” said UBC Interim President Martha Piper. “This agreement is an excellent example of the vital role that universities can play in creating and developing new technologies.”
When advanced prostate cancer spreads, it becomes metastatic and virtually incurable. Current treatments initially slow the spread of the disease and help prolong a patient’s life but the cancer eventually mutates and becomes resistant to drugs. The new treatment, developed by a research team led by Paul Rennie and Artem Cherkasov, is designed to outsmart the cancer by targeting a site in the cancer cells that is not prone to mutation.
Watch Rennie and Cherkasov explain how their new technology works in this video.
“We’re at a stage now that we need the right pharmaceutical partner to help to move this technology from a discovery into a finished product,” said Rennie, a professor in the department of Urologic Sciences at UBC and director of laboratory research at the Vancouver Prostate Centre.
“Licensing a treatment to a company is a critical step in ensuring that new technologies end up helping people who need them,” said Brad Wheeler, technology transfer manager at the University-Industry Liaison Office and lead negotiator on the Roche license.
The licensing agreement also stipulates that research will continue in collaboration with the scientists at the Vancouver Prostate Centre.
“We’ve brought computers into biology and we can see what’s going on before we test it in the lab,” said Cherkasov, associate professor at the department of Urologic Sciences and a senior research scientist at the Vancouver Prostate Centre.
Under the terms of the agreement with Roche, UBC and VCHRI can expect to receive an upfront payment, and up to $141.7 million US in pre-clinical, clinical and sales milestone payments for the first product to reach the market, and royalties thereafter. The scientists will share 50 per cent of the net revenues.
The potential new treatment was developed using a new computer technology that can scan a database of millions of different molecules to find the ones that will work best as possible treatments.
The research was funded in part by Prostate Cancer Canada, Prostate Cancer Foundation (U.S.), Safeway Canada, the CIHR’s Proof of Principle commercialization program, and PC-TRiADD.
A new gene therapy technique is able to modify prostate cancer cells so that a patient's body attacks and kills them, US scientists have discovered.
The technique causes the tumour cells in the body to self-destruct, giving it the name 'suicide gene therapy'.
Their research found a 20% improvement in survival in patients with prostate cancer five years after treatment.
A cancer expert said more research was needed to judge its effectiveness.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK with more than 41,000 diagnosed each year.
The study, led by researchers from Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas, appears to show that this 'suicide gene therapy', when combined with radiotherapy, could be a promising treatment for prostate cancer in the future.
The technique involves the cancer cells being genetically modified so that they signal a patient's immune system to attack them.
Usually, the body does not recognise cancer cells as the enemy because they have evolved from normal healthy cells.
Unlike an infection, which the body reacts against, the immune system does not react to kill off the offending cancer cells.
Using a virus to carry the gene therapy into the tumour cells, the result is that the cells self-destruct, alerting the patient's immune system that it is time to launch a massive attack.
In two groups of 62 patients, one group received the gene therapy twice and the other group - who all had more aggressive prostate cancer - received the treatment three times.
Both groups also received radiotherapy.
Survival rates after five years were 97% and 94%. Although there was no control group in this study, the researchers said the results showed a five to 20% improvement on previous studies of prostate cancer treatment.
And cancer biopsy tests performed two years after the trial were found to be negative in 83% and 79% of the patients in the two groups.
Dr Brian Butler, from Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas, said it could change the way that cancer is treated.
"We may be able to inject the agent straight into the tumour and let the body kill the cancer cells.
"Once the immune system has knowledge of the bad tumour cells, if they pop up again, the body will know to kill them."
Kevin Harrington, professor of biological cancer therapies at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said the results were "very interesting" but more research was needed.
"We would need a randomised trial to tell if this treatment is better than radiotherapy alone.
"The viruses used in this study cannot reproduce. Next generation viral therapies for cancer can selectively replicate in cancer cells, something that can kill the cancer cell directly, and also help spread the virus to neighbouring cancer cells.
"It would be interesting to see this approach used with viruses that could reproduce to see if it makes for a more effective treatment."
As the result of feedback from many members, our existing meeting place is too far from the city centre. It is very inconvenient for the guest rely on public transit. Therefore we are seeking a new venue for our monthly meeting in 2016 mainly for out-reach programs. Probably this Thursday (Dec 10, 6-8pm) will be our last meeting at Garratt Wellness Centre. Therefore please try your best to attend.
We have two short videos and one book to share this month:
This holiday season as we look around us and see so much worry and devastation in our world, we can't help but feel saddened. But for every sad story we like to think that there are happy endings. At Prostate Cancer Foundation BC we continue to strive to make the lives of men and their families better, longer and healthier.
To see how we are doing we asked a few people:
"How has the Foundation has helped you?"
"The Foundation has sponsored many activities and programs that have helped to promote awareness and provide access to speakers and current information on living with prostate cancer."
"The Foundation has connected me to many others living with prostate cancer throughout BC and across Canada, and provided a focus for my volunteer service to the prostate cancer cause of research, education & awareness and its community of support groups."
"How important is my support group to me?"
"While a ton of prostate cancer information is available on the internet, one doesn't initially know what is most relevant. Meeting others in a Support Group enabled good engagement with and learning from those who have travelled the prostate cancer road ahead of me, and now to those seeking my own story experience helping them to move forward, and not be alone in their search for proper treatment and dealing with side effects. I have also learned much from good topics & speakers and the discussion that followed."
"Support groups I have been involved with have provided an opportunity to obtain, share and weigh the benefits of information relevant to my situation."
"What was your prostate cancer diagnosis like?"
"The words "you have a positive biopsy for prostate cancer" was a sudden wake-up call & life changing moment. I knew little about how prostate cancer would affect me so set out on an aggressive learning curve, as my first urologist provided little help. I quickly found other prostate cancer survivors guiding me to seek good treatment options, my confidence returned & I was able to move forward."
"Have new treatments helped you in any way?"
"Hearing from others that 'if you are to have prostate cancer, being in Vancouver is the best place to have it" with the world class treatment and research available here. I knew my treatment, a prostatectomy , was a very good option although other treatment options also benefited from leading edge skills and research."
"'New', intervention, diagnostic, and treatment procedures available 10 years ago when I was diagnosed procedures provided important 'alternatives' for me.Funding raised and provided by the foundation helped make them available and are now contributing to the conversion of prostate to a chronic manageable disease."
The value of prostate cancer support groups...one man's story!
"In April 2006, my PSA was elevated, in fact, it had doubled in two years. So my GP called me in and said that I could have a biopsy right away or wait a couple of months and have another PSA test just to insure that it was correct. Naturally I took the easy way out, but two months later it was a little higher. So I had a biopsy and I was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer.
That C word is really devastating and while I took it as quite shock my wife took it a lot harder. I just said we will do what we have to do! At the time I was not at all familiar with the Prostate gland and PCa. So I did a lot of research. My PSA had doubled, but it was still pretty low, so my GP and Urologist both said that I could go on a Watchful waiting program. That was a bit of a relief as I wouldn't have to do anything, (except lie in bed and think that there is cancer growing in my body!).
A friend told me about Cancer Connections, you would call a toll free number and give them your details and they would have patients who had different treatments call and talk to you. So one man had external radiation, another brachytherapy and another nerve sparing surgery, it turned out that they were all happy with the decision that they had made. So while they did give me a lot of information, it still didn't make it easier to make a decision.
I did a lot more research on the possible treatments, side effects, etc. Then I heard that there was a PC Support group meeting in our neighbouring town. So I attended one night. I had talked to some very good Doctors, who had a lot of education, but had never personally experienced PCa and had to make a decision, so it was very useful to me to talk to other men that were going on the same journey as me. It was interesting to hear how they all made their decision whatever it was.
But the speaker that night was a local urologist and he spoke about a Patient that he had seen that week that fit my description exactly. He was 61 years old with very similar PSA and Gleason scores. That patient was thinking about going on watchful waiting, and the Urologist said "What are you waiting for? The cancer is not going to go away! You are only 61 years old and have a lot of living left to do. If you were 81 years old that might be a consideration.
When I got home that night, I told my wife that I wanted to have nerve sparing surgery. At that time our local Urologist was not doing nerve sparing surgery, so referred me to one of the top urologists in North America at the Prostate Centre and within a couple of months I had the surgery, and 4 weeks later I was swinging a golf club and 6 weeks later I was playing racquetball! My urologist said that I should be a poster boy for Nerve sparing surgery. I do feel very blessed, and happy that I did attend that support group meeting to help me make the decision.
Since then I have been instrumental in organizing a support group locally and hopefully we can continue to raise awareness and help other newly diagnosed men. I know that a lot of men do not feel that they need any support, I think that they will find that the information that they get from other men is invaluable, so strongly encourage men recently diagnosed to attend the nearest Support group meeting."
We continue to need your help!
If you can make a donation this holiday season know that your money will go a long way in our fight against the number one cancer for men.
With every $150 or more donation to the foundation until December 25th you will receive a free copy of the new book Legacies aren't just for Dead People by Robb Lucy.
In the news!
Prostate cancer drug developed by B.C. researchers to begin trials
Clinical trials will start today for a new prostate cancer drug developed by researchers at the BC Cancer Agency and University of British Columbia.
The new medication, which took 17 years to develop, is aimed at men with the most advanced, hard-to-treat form of the disease.
Approximately 30 patients - in British Columbia, Arizona, Michigan and Washington states - will participate in the trials, which are expected to last about five years.
The new drug, called EPI-506 was developed from a compound found in a marine sponge from Papua New Guinea. It is aimed at men whose treatment for the disease has been unsuccessful, said Dr. Marianne Sadar, who developed the drug along with UBC chemistry professor Raymond Anderson.
Right now, between 70 to 80 per cent of men diagnosed with prostate cancer will be cured with surgery or radiation, Dr. Sadar said. But for the rest, these treatments have failed.
Hope for patients
"There are a lot of people that are banking that this might really help patients," Sadar said.
Sadar and Anderson discovered the compound for the new drug from the marine sponge. Anderson had a collection of sponge extracts in his lab, Sadar said.
The organisms are often used in drug research because they're made up of molecules with many drug-like properties. The compound extracted from the sponge was developed into the new drug.
Sadar said she began working on the drug in 1998.
If the clinical trials are successful, it will be up to regulators at Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve the drug for use in Canada and the U.S.
"There are a lot of people that are banking that this might really help patients," Sadar said.
"Fingers are crossed. We worked so hard for 17 years."
Advance care planning is a process of reflection and communication. It is a time for you to reflect on your values and wishes, and to let people know what kind of health and personal care you think you may want in the future if you become unable to consent or refuse treatment or other care. This webinar will provide information about why advance care planning is important for men with prostate cancer, and how to do advance care planning.
The purpose of this workshop is to:
1. Provide an overview of what advance care planning (ACP) is.
2. Foster understanding as to why ACP is important for people living with prostate cancer,
3. Help men with prostate cancer, their partners and families learn the steps involved in the ACP process, and how to start these types of conversations,
4. Familiarize participants with the available resources on ACP.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Prostate Cancer Foundation BC Support Group Council
The Council meets four or five times a year to plan and coordinate activities around the province. Our meetings are usually by teleconference and at each one we try to examine the health of our groups across the province. To that end, group leaders may get a call from one of our members asking about meetings and membership. But you don't have to wait for that call if you have a question, suggestion, or comment. You can contact any of our members:
Do You Have Prostate Cancer? You Can Now Take Part in a New Research Study
During the study, you and your partner will learn about the importance of diet and lifestyle factors for prostate health.
You and your partner will participate in six cooking and nutrition classes, which will be led by a cooking expert. You will learn about foods that may slow the progression of prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers live with side effects of the treatment and changes in their personal relationships. However, nutrition can have a role in preventing or lessening some of these.
Dr. Carolyn Gotay is Principal Investigator of the study. She is Director of the Centre of Excellence in Cancer Prevention and a Professor in the School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia.
She holds the Canadian Cancer Society Chair in Cancer Primary Prevention. The Centre is a partnership between
the Canadian Cancer Society and the University of British Columbia.
The BC Support Group Council is once again hard at work preparing for a major workshop to be held in Vancouver in September 2016. An email was sent out recently to ask everyone to Save the Dates of September 23, 24, 25. If you didn't get that message, and you want to be on the list, tell us firstname.lastname@example.org This workshop will have a lot of information on the latest advances in patient care, and several sessions on how to make your support group better, stronger and more resilient.
SAVE THE DATE for
Prostate Cancer Supportive Care Information Sessions 2016
Wednesday January 6th, 2016 @ 530pm: 'Introduction to Primary Treatment Options' session
Wednesday January 13th, 2016 @ 4pm: 'Managing the Impact of Prostate Cancer Treatments on Sexual Function' session
Wednesday January 20th, 2016 @ 530pm: 'Introduction to Primary Treatment Options' session
Wednesday January 27th, 2016 @ 4pm: 'Adapting to Androgen Deprivation Therapy-Introductory' session
Wednesday January 27th, 2016 @ 5pm: 'Introduction to Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy' session
Wednesday March 16th, 2016 @ 6pm: 'Nutrition Advice for Prostate Cancer Patients' session
Wednesday April 20th, 2016 @ 6pm: 'Exercise for Prostate Cancer Patients' session
To register for any of these information sessions or future information sessions, please call Monita Sundar, PCSC Program Coordinator at (604) 875-4485 or emailPCSC@vch.ca
We sure could use your help!
Do you have any time to spare.
Our many fundraising events require a lot of work and we are looking for volunteers to join our planning committees. If you have a bit of free time and would like to help out with the Father's Day Run or The Westcoast Motorcycle Ride to Live then please call Rhonda at 604-574-4012. You don't have to be a rider, runner or walker, just an enthusiastic person who wants to give back!