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Effective prostate cancer treatment discovery
Date:2/25/2010

Monash University biomedical scientists have identified a new way to treat castrate resistant cells in prostate cancer sufferers the most common cancer in Australian men.

For more than 60 years the main way to treat men with prostate cancer has involved removing the hormones that fuel growth of the cancer cells. Although initially effective this treatment inevitably fails and when the tumour growth resumes, the disease in incurable. The team, from the Prostate & Breast Cancer Research Program, has discovered a way to treat these potentially fatal diseased cells, which remain in a patient after they have undergone hormone treatment.

The findings have been published in the prestigious medical journal PNAS.

Associate Dean, Research Centres & Institutes and co-author Professor Gail Risbridger said the studies provided proof of the controversial concept that estrogens (hormones mainly thought as being important for women) could be good for men and used therapeutically to treat prostate cancer.

"The research showed that drugs that activate one of the two estrogen receptors, causes cell death. Most commonly cell death in patients with prostate cancer is achieved by withdrawing androgens (male hormones) which results in castration," Professor Risbridger said.

"Although the bulk of the tumour is removed by castration, some cells remain and these castrate-resistant cells are the ones that give rise to recurrent incurable disease"

The team used a drug developed to selectively and specifically activate the beta estrogen receptor in the prostate.

"It not only inhibits the growth of prostate cancer but also kills off cancer cells that are resistant to conventional treatment such as androgen deprivation therapy, more commonly known as castration therapy and does so using a mechanism that is different to castration." Professor Risbridger said.

The team made the discovery in animal models, and then suc
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Contact: Samantha Blair
samantha.blair@adm.monash.edu.au
61-399-034-841
Monash University
Source:Eurekalert

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