Dr Kate Mahon has seen hundreds of patients with prostate cancer. As a researcher her aim is to find answers to the unanswered questions arising in the clinic.
Over the past decade, several new drugs have been introduced into prostate cancer treatment, which have certainly helped patients live better and longer. However, none of these drugs work in everybody. Most drugs work in only half to two-thirds of patients.
“At this stage, there is no way of being able to predict which patients will respond to which treatments ahead of time. This means that many patients have side effects from treatments from drugs that may not provide any benefit to them at all.”
Dr Mahon’s goal is to try and find markers in the blood to help clinicians better target treatments and determine how these treatments should be sequenced to provide personalised cancer therapy.
“We now have new technology which will allow clinicians to measure the DNA in blood samples from the prostate cancer cells. This provides a fantastic indication of how the prostate cancer cells are changing in response to treatment and also whether they will respond to treatment in the first place.”
This new treatment allows clinicians like Dr Mahon to test these genes in patients to see if there is a correlation between the results and the markers, enabling them to better predict treatment outcomes.