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Prostate cancer is NOT just one disease: Huge breakthrough as scientists discover disease is actually split into two types – and could save thousands of lives

Thousands of lives could be saved after the discovery of a new type of prostate cancer, experts say.

Artificial intelligence has helped scientists identify a new form of the disease that could revolutionize the way the disease is diagnosed and treated in the future.

Their research found that prostate cancer, which affects one in eight men in their lifetime, includes two different subtypes.

And the revelation could lead to tailor-made treatments for each individual patient, depending on the type he or she has.

The team, led by researchers from the University of Oxford and the University of Manchester, used artificial intelligence (AI) to study changes in the DNA of prostate cancer samples from 159 patients.

Stephen Fry, 66, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018 but has since recovered.  Last week he backed the #CatchUpWithCancer campaign and denounced the 'deadly' delays suffered by tens of thousands

Stephen Fry, 66, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018 but has since recovered. Last week he backed the #CatchUpWithCancer campaign and denounced the ‘deadly’ delays suffered by tens of thousands

On average, more than 52,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in the UK, making it the most common form of cancer in men.  About 12,000 men die from the disease every year – the equivalent of one man every 45 minutes

On average, more than 52,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in the UK, making it the most common form of cancer in men. About 12,000 men die from the disease every year – the equivalent of one man every 45 minutes

They identified two different cancer groups among these patients and were able to generate an ‘evolutionary tree’ showing how each group evolved – eventually converging into two different disease types called ‘evotypes’.

This is important because until now, prostate cancer was thought to be just one type of disease.

Lead researcher Dr Dan Woodcock, from the University of Oxford, said: ‘Our research shows that prostate tumors progress along multiple pathways, leading to two different disease types.

‘This understanding is crucial because it allows us to classify tumors based on how the cancer progresses, rather than solely on the basis of individual gene mutations or expression patterns.’

The researchers worked together as part of an international consortium called The Pan Prostate Cancer Group, founded by scientists from the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and the University of East Anglia to analyze genetic data from thousands of prostate cancer samples in nine countries.

The team’s collaboration with Cancer Research UK (CRUK) – which funded the study – aims to develop a genetic test that, when combined with conventional staging and assessment, can provide a more accurate prognosis for each patient, enabling tailored treatment decisions are.

Dr. Rupal Mistry, CRUK’s senior science engagement manager, said: ‘The work published today by this global consortium of researchers has the potential to make a real difference to people affected by prostate cancer.

‘The more we understand about cancer, the more likely we are to develop treatments to beat cancer.

‘We are proud to have helped fund this groundbreaking work, which has laid the foundation for personalized treatments for people with prostate cancer, helping more people beat their disease.’

Researcher Professor Colin Cooper from the University of East Anglia’s Norwich Medical School highlighted that although prostate cancer is responsible for a large proportion of all male cancer deaths, it is more often a disease that men die from than from.

This means that unnecessary treatments can often be avoided, sparing men from side effects such as incontinence and impotence.

He added: ‘This study is very important because until now we thought prostate cancer was just one type of disease.

‘But only now, with advances in artificial intelligence, have we been able to show that there are actually two different subtypes at play.

‘We hope that the findings will not only save lives in the future through better diagnoses and tailored treatments, but that they can also help researchers working in other cancer areas to better understand other types of cancer.’

Dr. Naomi Elster, research director at Prostate Cancer Research, said: ‘These results could be the start of us taking the same ‘divide and conquer’ approach to prostate cancer as we do to other diseases such as breast cancer. ‘

The findings have been published in the journal Cell Genomics.

WHAT IS PROSTATE CANCER?

How many people does it kill?

More than 11,800 men in Britain – or one every 45 minutes – die from the disease every year, compared to around 11,400 women who die from breast cancer.

It means prostate cancer is behind only the lungs and bowels in the number of people it kills in Britain.

In the US, the disease kills 26,000 men every year.

Despite this, it receives less than half of breast cancer research funding and treatments for the disease are at least a decade behind schedule.

How many men are diagnosed annually?

More than 52,300 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK every year – more than 140 every day.

How quickly does it develop?

Prostate cancer usually develops slowly, so there may be no signs that someone has it for years NHS.

If the cancer is in its early stages and is not causing symptoms, a policy of ‘watchful waiting’ or ‘active surveillance’ may be implemented.

Some patients can be cured if the disease is treated at an early stage.

But if the diagnosis is made at a later stage, when the disease has spread, the disease becomes terminal and treatment revolves around relieving the symptoms.

Thousands of men are deterred from seeking a diagnosis because of the treatment’s known side effects, including erectile dysfunction.

Testing and treatment

Tests for prostate cancer are haphazard, and accurate tools are only just beginning to appear.

There is no national prostate screening program because the tests have been too inaccurate for years.

Doctors have difficulty distinguishing between aggressive and less serious tumors, making it difficult to decide on treatment.

Men over 50 are eligible for a ‘PSA’ blood test, which gives doctors a rough idea of ​​a patient’s risk.

But it is unreliable. Patients who receive a positive result usually receive a biopsy, which is also not foolproof.

Scientists aren’t sure what causes prostate cancer, but age, obesity and lack of exercise are known risks.

Anyone with concerns can speak to the specialist nurses at Prostate Cancer UK on 0800 074 8383 or visit prostatecancer.org