Prostate : Key Genes Could Reduce Prostate Tumor Growth

A study into prostate cancer has potentially found a way of slowing down the growth of the disease.

A research team, funded by Prostate Cancer UK and the Medical Research Council, has found that turning on certain genes within prostate tumours can slow growth of the disease.

Using mice, researchers turned on key genes inside "fibroblast" cells in tumours, which then dramatically reduced their size. Although further research is now needed to confirm that this approach has the same effect on prostate cancers in humans, the results could lead to a revolution in the treatment of the potentially terminal illness in the future.

Lead researcher, Dr Axel Thomson, said: "This is an extremely exciting development that has the potential to form the basis of a revolution in prostate cancer treatments over time if replicated in humans." Prostate cancer makes up one in four of all male cancers, making it the most common cancer in men in Wales.

Most prostate cancer is slow-growing to start with and may never cause any problems or symptoms in a man's lifetime, with many patients only experiencing symptoms when it is already advanced or has spread to a secondary site.

The study's findings, published today in the Disease Models and Mechanisms journal, are part of an ongoing body of research exploring how the environment surrounding cancer cells affects tumour growth.

This latest study builds on growing evidence which suggests that the non-cancerous fibroblast cells within prostate tumours could be a key target for successful treatments. Dr Ian Lewis, associate director of research at Tenovus, said the research could have the potential to develop treatments for a variety of cancers.

He said: "This research is particularly interesting as it could have implications for the way we look at treating other cancers too, by specifically targeting the non-cancerous cells that interact with the cancerous cells rather than the cancerous cells themselves. "However, this is still relatively early work and they would still need to determine if the effect can be replicated in real patients. Until then it is vitally important that men are aware of the symptoms of prostate cancer and seek advice and support from their GP if they have any concerns."

(C) 2012 Western Mail. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

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