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4 April 2012
Breakthrough drug halts prostate cancer metastasis
by George Atkinson

The vast majority of prostate cancer-related deaths are caused by the cancer cells moving out of the prostate and spreading to other organs, a process that may now be stoppable, say Northwestern University scientists.

Research leader Raymond Bergan says the new drug - dubbed KBU2046 - prevents human prostate cancer cells from spreading without any toxic effects to normal cells or tissues. "This is an extremely promising new therapeutic that locks down aggressive prostate cancer cells so they don't move," Bergan explained. "The spread of prostate cancer is what kills men. Cancer cells have a switch that tells them to keep moving all the time. This drug turns it off."

In the study, the researchers transplanted aggressive human prostate cancer cells into mice prostate tissue and fed the mice with the new drug for five weeks. The drug inhibited movement of the cells and prevented them from metastasizing to the lung, one of the tissues to which prostate cancer spreads in men. According to Bergan, the drug works by binding to and disabling proteins in the cancer cell that instruct it to move.

"We envision that this drug, if shown to be effective in clinical trials, could be used to treat men diagnosed with prostate cancer, so they wouldn't need more aggressive procedures," Bergan suggests. "Or, the drug could augment the effectiveness of surgery and radiation."

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Source: Northwestern University

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