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New targeted therapy for advanced prostate cancer shows anti-tumor activity in clinical trials
Date:11/7/2012

Few available treatment options exist once prostate cancer has spread to other parts of the body and has failed to respond to therapies that involve blocking the male hormone androgen. Patients with advanced, hormone-refractory prostate cancer usually die from the disease after 12 to 18 months, so new therapies are desperately needed.

At the 24th EORTC-NCI-AACR [1] Symposium on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics in Dublin, Ireland, today (Thursday), researchers will report that a new drug that specifically targets a protein found on the surface of prostate cancer cells has performed well in a phase I clinical trial, and a phase II trial has started. The drug reduced levels of circulating tumour cells (CTC) and levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA), a marker for tumour activity, in patients who had already failed previous chemotherapy and hormone treatments [2].

The drug is made up of a monoclonal antibody, which targets a protein called prostate specific membrane antigen (PSMA), linked to a cancer cell-killing drug called monomethyl auristatin E (MMAE), which disrupts tubulins the tiny molecules inside a cell that are essential for cell division. The PSMA antibody drug conjugate (PSMA ADC) binds to the PSMA on the surface of the prostate cancer cell and is absorbed into the cell where the MMAE is released, causing cell cycle arrest and cell death.

Professor Daniel Petrylak, who was Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center (USA) when the phase I trial started and who is now Director of the Prostate Cancer Program/Genitourinary Cancer Program and co-director of the Signal Transduction Program at Yale University Medical Centre (USA), said: "By conjugating the antibody with a chemotherapeutic agent, we hoped that this would lead to more targeted therapy, which would have fewer toxic side-effects and would be more effective against the cancer."

Prof Petrylak and his colleagues from other US cancer ce
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Contact: Emma Mason
wordmason@mac.com
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation
Source:Eurekalert

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