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Our Vision to Eliminate Prostate Cancer through a Multi-Pronged Approach

Our Vision to Eliminate Prostate Cancer through a Multi-Pronged Approach


Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer and the fourth leading cause of cancer death in men worldwide, with an incidence of approximately 1.4 million and mortality of approximately 375,000 annually. It’s these sobering statistics that motivate us to advance science and innovative therapies despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on research programs across the industry.

With the recent progress in prostate cancer therapeutics, we can imagine a future where instead of aiming for long, durable, disease-free states, we can potentially realize cures. To continue this progress, we must focus not on identifying a single target but instead leverage our understanding of the complexity of the disease and develop combination strategies that best fit each prostate cancer case.

Inclusive clinical trials will give us a more comprehensive understanding of prostate cancer

While androgens are a strong driver of prostate cancer, there are limitations to adopting a one-size-fits-all therapy, since we know there are other mechanisms involved in prostate cancer growth. We know that the best therapeutic approach varies based on several patient factors, including the patient’s age and stage of disease. We are also beginning to understand how genetic mutations may drive disease in certain prostate cancer patients and how subsets of patients may express therapeutically relevant targets in different ways.

Leveraging these distinct patient characteristics to optimize treatment requires that we not only comprehend the factors that distinguish patients with prostate cancer but that we also have actionable information on how those factors influence patients’ responses to individual prostate cancer interventions. More inclusive clinical trials that incorporate patients of different ages, races, and genetic makeups, as well as those at different points along the disease continuum, will provide us with a more comprehensive vision of prostate cancer and the therapeutic implications of personal and disease-related profiles. Including a diverse group of trial investigators offers opportunities to improve the diversity of patients participating in oncology trials and develop a comprehensive understanding of the disease that will be applicable to all those men who battle this disease.

Investigating what matters most to patients will enable us to develop meaningful interventions

Prostate cancer symptoms and side effects of treatments are often inadequately addressed and the endpoints we focus on in oncology clinical trials to garner approval do not always encompass all aspects of disease that are troubling to patients. Incorporating patient input and elevating patient reported outcomes in our research and development programs are clear pathways to overcome the limitations of traditional clinical trials by giving patients and their loved one’s voices in the fight against prostate cancer. The critical insights that can be gleaned from patient and caregiver reports enhances the knowledge coming from our clinical trials and will help us develop therapies that are durable and have potentially fewer side effects that are burdensome to patients.

More precise diagnostic tools will allow us to better customize our therapeutic strategies

In addition to considering patient input, we must rely on clinical data to customize treatment, but our ability to customize depends on the sophistication of our diagnostic tools. The more we know about an individual prostate cancer case, the more precisely we can attack the cancer. For example, we can now sequence tumors and use positron emission technology (PET) tracers to track even newly identified targets and how expression of these targets’ changes over time. The information we gather through these tools can substantively inform treatment strategies.

Janssen's strategy to fight prostate cancer includes a diverse armamentarium

Our commitment at Janssen to providing the best outcomes for all patients with prostate cancer has shaped our research and development for more than a decade in the prostate cancer space. Specifically, we have developed a broad portfolio of prostate cancer therapeutics spanning multiple modalities and stages of disease, as well as accompanying diagnostics that will help ensure the appropriate use of our therapeutics. Our work has provided us with a robust understanding of the mechanisms behind various types of prostate cancer and their response to specific interventions.

The insights we have gained through our research are also informing our strategic combination of agents to further improve outcomes for patients with prostate cancer. We are striving to design trials that build upon the legacy of anti-androgen therapies and expedite answers to the most pressing questions in prostate cancer so that we can bring forth transformational agents to inform clinical practice and provide new options to those awaiting more effective prostate cancer treatments.

September 24, 2021