First-Ever National Proactive Surveillance Network Launches as Resource for Men Diagnosed with Early Stage Prostate Cancer
The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF), Johns Hopkins Medicine and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center announced today the launch of the National Proactive Surveillance Network (NPSN), an online resource for men diagnosed with low-grade prostate cancer, which can be slow growing and non-life threatening in up to 50 percent of diagnosed cases. The network is structured to actively manage prostate cancer in patients who qualify for a non-intervening management program, known as proactive surveillance.
“The network will reduce overtreatment of patients with low-grade disease, ultimately enabling healthcare services to direct more resources to those patients with aggressive, life-threatening varieties of prostate cancer,” said Stuart Holden, MD, Director of the Louis Warshaw Prostate Cancer Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and medical director for the Prostate Cancer Foundation. “This online tool will also generate a nationwide program for medical professionals to provide better tracking and better stratification of patients whose prostate cancer has a higher probability of being slow-growing and non-life threatening.”
Work began on the project in 2010 with a $5 million-program grant from the Prostate Cancer Foundation. The program will use protocols developed by urologists at Johns Hopkins Medicine, which has the nation's largest patient population under active surveillance for prostate cancer with more than 1,000 men enrolled since 1995. The network includes myConnect, an interactive patient portal designed to track the progress of a patient's treatment, connect patients with network physicians, and receive proactive surveillance alerts. The service is HIPAA compliant for patient privacy and security. In the future, myConnect will allow patients to schedule appointments, and track their progress with interactive charts and graphs.
“We closely monitor patients who are in proactive surveillance,” says H. Ballentine Carter, MD, Director of Adult Urology at Johns Hopkins Medicine and a long-time Prostate Cancer Foundation-funded investigator. “It is not a typical treatment method—it involves ongoing monitoring and management instead of surgery, radiation, or other interventions. Proactive surveillance is similar in nature to options known as watchful waiting, expectant management or active surveillance and emphasizes a patient's personal preferences. The network will be a resource to men diagnosed with low-grade disease that is often non-life threatening.”
The National Proactive Surveillance Network comes at a pivotal time for the prostate cancer community. “Recent debate over PSA testing has stirred controversy and confusion over screening men for prostate cancer,” adds Dr. Carter. “Every man has the right to know if he has cancer and to make informed decisions with his urologist. This requires thorough dialog between patients, family members and urologists—weighing the pros and cons of screening and treatment options. Sometimes the best treatment is deciding that treatment is not needed, perhaps now, or ever. We believe the network represents real solutions for the current problem and for healthcare reform overall.”
Patients who join the National Proactive Surveillance Network will undergo biannual digital rectum exams (DRE), urine tests and PSA tests, as well as a yearly prostate biopsy. Patients will also answer lifestyle and nutrition questionnaires and record their medical history. In addition to providing an efficient model for proactive surveillance, the network will collect and sort data in a scientific-blinded fashion—with absolutely no patient name association—so researchers can analyze trends and the success of the program. Patient samples, including blood and urine, will also be analyzed and banked by Johns Hopkins Medicine on the east coast and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in the west with patient consent. The repository of blood and urine will support future biomarker and genetic studies.
Interviews and online tutorials for the National Proactive Surveillance Network are available upon request. For more on the network, please visit npsn.net.
About the Prostate Cancer Foundation
The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is the world's leading philanthropic organization funding and accelerating research. Founded in 1993 by Michael Milken, PCF has raised more than $500 million and provided funding to over 1,600 research projects at nearly 200 institutions in 15 countries around the world. Since 2008, it has supported 100 Young Investigators in seven countries and launched 17 PCF team science Challenge Awards. PCF advocates for greater awareness of prostate cancer and more efficient investment of governmental research funds supporting transformational cancer research. Prostate Cancer Foundation efforts over 19 years have helped produce a 20-fold increase in government funding for prostate cancer and fast-forward research on research on four new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) drugs for advanced prostate cancer in the past two years. More information about PCF can be found at pcf.org.
About Johns Hopkins Medicine
Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM), headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, is a $6.5 billion integrated global health enterprise and one of the leading health care systems in the United States. JHM unites physicians and scientists of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine with the organizations, health professionals and facilities of the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System. JHM's mission is to improve the health of the community and the world by setting the standard of excellence in medical education, research and clinical care. Diverse and inclusive, JHM educates medical students, scientists, health care professionals and the public; conducts biomedical research; and provides patient-centered medicine to prevent, diagnose and treat human illness. JHM operates six academic and community hospitals, four suburban health care and surgery centers, and more than 30 primary health care outpatient sites. For more information: www.hopkinsmedicine.org.
About Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
The largest academic medical center on the West Coast, Cedars-Sinai is a world-renowned nonprofit institution known for the highest quality patient care and a focus on translational research. In its 896-bed hospital, its research laboratories and its outpatient facilities, Cedars-Sinai's faculty of physicians and scientists, along with its medical staff, employees and volunteers, bring together compassionate patient care with innovative medical research.
Cedars-Sinai's Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute is known for combining the highest quality patient care and the latest advances in cancer research. Its outpatient cancer center treats more than 9,000 patients each year, making it one of the busiest treatment facilities in California. The institute's cancer program was deemed one of the best in U.S. News & World Report's 2011-12 “Best Hospitals” issue. For more information, visit www.cedars-sinai.edu.