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National prostate cancer study includes Moffitt Center

The H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute is taking part in a national study to see if the use of Selenium and Vitamin E can reduce the incidence of prostate cancer.

The study began in 2001 and now has 29,400 participants. The National Cancer Institute, as well as the Southwest Oncology Group, is sponsoring the study and over 400 medical groups throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada that have helped recruit participants.

The ongoing study is seeking to see if either Selenium or Vitamin E can help decrease the risk of prostate cancer in males aged 55 and older and black males aged 50 and older. Blacks are generally prone to the occurence of prostate cancer at a younger age.

“At the present time, nobody knows what the mechanisms are that help to prevent the incidence of prostate cancer,” said Julio Pow-Sang, the program leader of Genitourinary Oncology at Moffitt

Moffitt will also be looking at a number of nutritional aspects related to the participants’ diet and use of health supplements in the study in order to get a complete picture of each person’s condition. Patients who sign up for the study are required to fill out a 12-page food and dietary questionnaire said Pam Dawson, the trial coordinator at Moffitt.

A secondary objective of the trial will be to look at the use of Selenium and Vitamin E in lowering the prevalence of lung and colon cancer.

The division of Moffitt that is helping to take part in the study is the Moffitt Lifetime Screening Center. Although Moffitt is not a primary caregiver in the study, it helps to recruit patients, gather information and dispense the vitamins that are used in the analysis.

In addition to the Selenium and Vitamin E given out for the research, Moffitt is also providing participants with a multivitamin that does not contain either Selenium or Vitamin E Dawson said.

The partakers in the study will be divided into four groups, said Pow-Sang. One group will receive a placebo, or sugar pill. The second group will only be administered Selenium, and the third group will be given Vitamin E. The last group receives a combination of both Selenium and Vitamin E.

Although the study started in 2001, Moffitt, as well as other medical organizations involved, are still recruiting people. The study will stop gathering subjects once it has reached its target participant goal of 32,400, but the observations of people involved in the study will continue until 2013.

During the ongoing study, members involved will have a checkup every six months so that researchers can record the progress of each individual. If an abnormality is identified in a person’s blood test or during his or her physical exam, he or she must undergo a biopsy, Pow-Sang said.

The current study has based its finding on two previous studies involving Selenium and Vitamin E. Several years ago, two studies were conducted in which researchers looked at the incidence of lung cancer and non-melanoma skin cancer. In these studies, Vitamin E was examined for prevention of the occurrence of lung cancer, and Selenium was inspected for its abilities to prohibit the occurrence of non-melanoma skin cancer.

“In the study they noticed a much lower rate of prostate cancer then they expected to see, even though it didn’t help to prevent lung cancer or non-melanoma skin cancer,” Dawson said.

Researchers hope the study will help medical professionals to develop medications or therapy that will help to reduce the occurrence of prostate cancer in a younger generation of men.

“We are hoping to prevent prostate cancer in these healthy men, and if not, then we have a lot of information for men in the future,” Dawson said.

Moffitt is still currently looking for 3,000 more participants for its ongoing study. Anyone aged 55 or older or any blacks who are at least 50-years-old who are interested in participating in the study should contact Pam Dawson at 813-632-1761 or Lisa Roberts at 813-903-4955.