Lots of new research is being targeted at treating advanced prostate cancer. Here’s the latest. At the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas a team of scientists led by Dr. Ganesh Raj has developed a novel class of drugs to fight the cancer.
As we’ve reported many times, the growth of cancer cells depends on androgen receptor signaling. Androgen (testosterone) reaches out to the receptor and that in turn leads the tumor to grow. To thwart tumor growth patients have been given drugs that block the production of androgen…or they block the receptor where the androgen binds.
In this new study, the team found that they could disrupt the androgen receptor signaling by using a novel class of drugs called peptidomimetics. They engineered a small protein-like chain that the androgen receptors need to function.
Dr. Raj explains how it works like this. Think of a lock and key. The receptor is the lock and the androgen is the key. In advanced prostate cancer, despite drugs that target the lock or the key, the new drug uncouples the lock and key mechanism, and so the androgen receptor does not receive the required signal to proliferate and the tumor stops growing.
The novel drug in testing has proven to be non-toxic and the response has been highly promising, suggesting that the drug –in a class called peptidomimetcs—may be a viable therapeutic approach with men with advanced prostate cancer.
Further testing is needed, the researchers say, before the drug can move to Phase 1 clinical trials.
Details of this study can be found in the online site Nature Communications.