At the moment, if you have surgery for PC and it does not work, the usual course is to try salvage radiation therapy.  That is what my husband underwent last year.  Fortuntely, his first post-treatment PSA reading was undetectable.  But our next appointment with the doctor is in October, so I am already getting a bit weak-kneed.

The problem is that some men will fail secondary therapy as well, and then the options aren’t that good.  You can have hormone therapy or chemotherapy, neither of which is very easy to take.  So what we really need are some minimally invasive treatments for recurrent prostate cancer that has not responded to salvage radiation. 

There are two promising therapies in the pipeline, photodynamic (which goes by the name “Tookad”),  and High Intensity Focus Ultrasound (HIFU).  You may be familiar with HIFU, as it is approved for use in treating localized PC in Canada and Europe.  Clinical trials testing both photodynamic therapy and HIFU in patients who have failed salvage radiotherapy for PC are underway.   So if anyone is interested, here’s some information.

HIFU for Locally Recurrent PC After Salvage Radiation

What it is: HIFU is a minimally invasive procedure that uses ultrasound energy to destroy cancerous tissue with focused sound waves. The Sonablate(R) 500, the therapeutic ultrasound device which will be used in the study, is designed to destroy the entire gland in one procedure without causing damage to tissue around the prostate.

Clinical Trial: A new Phase III clinical trial, sponsored by the Focus Surgery, the maker of Sonablate, is investigating the safety and efficacy of HIFU for the treatment of locally recurrent prostate cancer following failed external beam radiation therapy (EBRT).
Eligibility: Participants for the trial must be between the ages of 40 and 80, have biopsy confirmed local recurrence two or more years following EBRT, confined prostate cancer with a prostate specific antigen (PSA) greater than or equal to .5 ng/mL and less than or equal to 10 ng/mL and a Gleason score of less than or equal to seven.

Locations: Naples, FL, Myrtle Beach, SC.

For more information: or call 1-877-874-4389.

Tookad — Photodynamic Therapy for Locally Recurrent PC After Salvage Radiation
What it is: Tookad is a a novel therapy based on the principle of photosynthesis in plants, which has been used successfully in treating some cancers and has shown promising results in clinical trials for PC.  A drug containing chlorophyll is injected into the patient which becomes toxic only when activated by light.  So when the drug reaches its target, doctors shine a light on the tumor using catheter-inserted optical fibers. The drug destroys the illuminated blood vessels, choking the blood supply and starving the cancer of nutrients without damaging surrounding healthy tissue. Tookad has been shown to shrink prostate tumors by 84 percent, and in 46 per cent of the cases — the cancer was gone. (BJU study).

Tookad was developed by two biochemists at the prestigious Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.

Clinical Trial:  Researchers are currently seeking prostate cancer patients to participate in phase II and III clinical trials.

Eligiblity: See link below.

Location: Ontario, Canada.

For more information:

NOTE: I believe clincal trials for both of these treatments are underway in the UK.  Please check with your doctor.  *Also*: clinical trials are undergoing which use HIFU and Tookad as primary therapies for PC.  Please check