Abiraterone prostate cancer drug

Professor Johann de Bono

  • Clinical trial testing the drug Abiraterone on advanced prostate cancer
  • Phase I, II and III clinical trials successfully completed
  • NICE approval 16 May 2012

At The Royal Marsden, our long-term goal is to provide every one of our cancer patients with personalised treatment that guarantees their cancer is successfully treated or that they can live comfortably with it.

We want to develop more effective and kinder therapies that target each individual’s type of cancer, so they can enjoy a future beyond cancer. Clinical trials like this will help us achieve this goal.

Developed by The Royal Marsden and The Institute of Cancer Research, Abiraterone is a major step forward in the treatment of prostate cancer.

The drug successfully passed through phase I and II clinical trials at The Royal Marsden. A phase III trial, led by the hospital’s Professor Johann de Bono (pictured above), revealed that men with a specific type of prostate cancer who have previously received chemotherapy live significantly longer and have a better quality of life if they are treated with Abiraterone.

The once-a-day pill could treat more than 10,000 British men with the most aggressive type of prostate cancer each year, and many thousands more worldwide. Studies are now being planned to evaluate Abiraterone’s effectiveness in men with earlier forms of prostate cancer and some other cancer types, including ovarian cancer.

The science

The male hormone testosterone fuels the growth and spread of prostate cancer. Abiraterone blocks the production of testosterone to slow or even halt the growth of a tumour, causing tumour shrinkage.

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We are the leading centre for cancer clinical trials in the country, running over 450 trials each year. But it’s not enough. We need investment to be able to run many more clinical trials to achieve the next breakthroughs in cancer treatment.

It’s only by running more clinical trials that we’ll achieve more breakthroughs that will lead to more lives saved.

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“We are delighted our patients were among the first to receive this drug and that patients across the country will benefit from our work.”
– Cally Palmer, Chief Executive of The Royal Marsden

British men who could benefit from this pill each year