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New Prostate Cancer Drug May Hold Promise
Date:4/7/2009

Researchers apply for large-scale testing after 'very promising' early results,,

TUESDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) -- A new drug with a radically different way of attacking prostate cancer has done well in an initial trial and is ready for larger-scale testing, researchers report.

One standard treatment for the malignancy is to inhibit the activity of androgens, male hormones such as testosterone that help drive tumor growth. Existing anti-androgens try to "shut down the factory" that produces the hormones, but the new drug blocks the receptors for those androgens on the tumor cells, said Dr. Howard I. Scher, chief of the genitourinary oncology service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and co-author of a report to be published online by the journal Science.

"There is a lot of interest in the drug, because the preliminary results are very promising," Scher said.

The report in the journal describes the results of the treatment of 30 men with advanced prostate cancer that was not responding to conventional anti-androgen therapy. After treatment with the drug, there were "sustained declines" in blood levels of prostate specific antigen, a biomarker of tumor growth, in 13 of the 30, or 43 percent, which the report called a "promising" result.

The researchers now have data on 114 men given the drug, Scher said. "It showed not only declines in PSA but also regression of the tumor on scans and also that circulating tumor cell counts, another measure of treatment, converted from unfavorable to favorable in a considerable percentage of patients," he said.

Based on those results, Scher said, an application for a large-scale trial has been submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by Medivation Inc., a California-based biopharmaceutical company that has licensed the drug, now called MDV3100. The hope is that the trial will lead to FDA approval of the drug for clinica
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