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Scientific Panel Cites Promise of MRI to Improve Prostate Cancer Diagnostics, Supports Federal Funding to End Public Health Crisis

BOSTON, May 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A group of leading U.S. and international scientists and clinicians issued a consensus statement today identifying prostate cancer as a public health crisis and endorsing the promise of MRI for improved early detection and treatment. They also highlighted the leadership of the U.S. Congress in introducing legislation to fund research into improving prostate cancer diagnostics.

Convening last week at the annual meeting of the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine in Stockholm, Sweden, members of the AdMeTech Foundation's International Prostate Cancer MRI Working Group offered their endorsement after reviewing new and emerging scientific data from major academic institutions in the United States, Europe and Japan.

The consensus statement reads:

"The lack of accurate diagnostic tools for prostate cancer has led to a public health crisis. We reviewed new scientific data from leading academic institutions around the world and concluded that with further research, accurate imaging technologies such as MRI will improve early detection, save lives, eliminate unnecessary and failed procedures, and guide minimally-invasive treatment. Research funding proposed by the Prostate Research Imaging and Men's Education (PRIME) Act introduced in the U.S. Congress is critical for transfer of these promising technologies from bench to bedside, improving quality of life for millions of men and reducing billions of dollars in health care costs."

Dr. Faina Shtern, president of Boston-based AdMeTech Foundation, convened this working group to evaluate the growing body of research that demonstrates the promise of MRI as a diagnostic tool and to define strategy for the future. Prostate cancer is the most common major cancer in the United States and the second most lethal cancer in men. More than 2 million men in the United States currently live with prostate cancer, which strikes as many as one in six men. An American man dies every 19 minutes, even though prostate cancer can be cured when detected early.

"In spite of the magnitude of prostate cancer epidemic, men do not have accurate diagnostic tools for early detection, which is critical for saving lives and cost-effective, least invasive patient care. Unreliable diagnostic tools have led to a staggering extent of unnecessary and failed treatment, which compromises survival, causes life-altering complications in millions of men and inflates health care costs," Shtern said. "The consequences are dire: Prostate cancer has emerged as a public health disaster that requires a prompt response."

The meeting participants praised Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) for the introduction of the PRIME Act and urged key congressional leaders to support this legislation. The PRIME Act calls for U.S. government investment of $650 million over five years for research and education to improve prostate cancer diagnostics.

"The elimination of failed and unnecessary procedures would save 10 times more in one year than the entire one-time research costs proposed by the PRIME Act. Improved quality of life in millions of men will be priceless," Dr. Shtern said.

The PRIME Act (S. 756/H.R. 4756) includes $500 million for research to develop new imaging technologies for improved early detection and minimally-invasive, patient-tailored treatment; $100 million to develop more specific blood and/or urinary tests for mass screening and prevention; and $50 million for men's education. In the Senate, prostate cancer survivor Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) was an original cosponsor and the bill is pending in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. In the House, there are 15 bipartisan cosponsors at this point and the bill is pending in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Rep. Cummings introduced the legislation on March 4, 2010, as a result of his participation in the historic prostate cancer hearing held by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee under the leadership of Chairman Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) and Ranking Member Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who have been supporters of the effort to increase federal investment in prostate imaging research.

About the AdMeTech Foundation:

AdMeTech Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the prostate cancer crisis. AdMeTech provides international leadership and conducts ground-breaking programs in research and education to facilitate development of accurate diagnostic tools for early detection and minimally-invasive treatment of prostate cancer. For more information, log onto www.admetech.org.

About the AdMeTech Foundation's International Prostate MRI Working Group:

The International Prostate MRI Working Group offers a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional approach to the facilitated advancement of MRI and Magnetic Spectroscopy (MRS) technologies and their integration with early detection and treatment of prostate cancer. A strategic partnership of leaders of medicine and industry, the Group seeks to stimulate ground-breaking research and to develop clear pathways for its implementation.

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