Senators back $650 million legislative plan for prostate cancer research and education

July 3, 2007

Prostate imaging is set for the spotlight in the U.S. Senate, following the introduction of a $650 million bill for imaging research and education at the end of Men’s Health Month on June 28.

Prostate imaging is set for the spotlight in the U.S. Senate, following the introduction of a $650 million bill for imaging research and education at the end of Men's Health Month on June 28.

The bill, called the PRIME (Prostate Research, Imaging, and Men's Education) Act, was introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and cosponsored by Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and prostate cancer survivor John Kerry (D-MA).

Men have a one in six lifetime risk of getting prostate cancer. PRIME calls for development of "innovative advanced imaging technologies for prostate cancer detection, diagnosis, and treatment," in addition to improvements in blood screening tests and a public awareness drive. If the bill is passed, the money would be distributed in $130 million installments over five years.

"This much-needed legislation mirrors the investment the Federal government made years back in advanced imaging technologies for detection, diagnosis, and treatment of breast cancer," Boxer said. "We all know that investment in technology has saved many lives."

The Boston-based AdMeTech foundation has been lobbying members of the House and Senate, including Boxer, to support the stated aims of the bill, said Dr. Faina Shtern, president and CEO of AdMeTech. With respect to imaging, the focus will mainly be on detection and diagnosis.

"The very fact that this bill has been introduced is a huge achievement for our community," said Shtern, former chief of the Diagnostic Imaging Research Branch of the National Cancer Institute.

It is hoped that imaging will enable detection of prostate cancer early enough so that patients can undergo image-guided interventions instead of radical surgery.

"Currently, prostate cancer treatment is blind, and biopsy is blind. It's like a lottery. Precise visualization tools will help show whether a patient is a candidate for image-guided treatment, surgery, radiation, or should not have local treatment at all," she said.

For more information from the Diagnostic Imaging archives:

Sonoelastography makes headway in prostate cancer assessment

Report from ISMRM: Dutch group gives vote of confidence to 3T MR-guided prostate interventions

Dutch group gives vote of confidence to 3T MR-guided prostate interventions

High-intensity focused ultrasound use widens in research, practice