Antibody discovered that kills previously incurable prostate cancer
The discovery brings optimism that a cure for prostate cancer could be right around the corner.
Tue, Dec 29 2009 at 5:35 AM
MEDICAL MICE: So far the new antibody has only been tested with mice like these, but the results are promising. (Photo: jurvetson/Flickr)
Cancer researchers in the U.S. have discovered an antibody that specifically targets prostate cancer cells and destroys them even when they are in an advanced stage, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
The breakthrough antibody has so far only been tested in mice, but the results are extremely promising. When injected, the antibody bonded with tissue where prostate cancer was the primary cancer in 97 percent of cases. That's an astounding rate, especially considering that it did not target normal tissue at all.
"[The antibody] initiated direct cell death of prostate cancer cells ... and effectively prevented tumor outgrowth," said researchers.
In fact, it even recognized androgen-independent cancer cells, which are cells present when prostate cancer is incurable. Currently, there is little that can be done with the onset of androgen-independent metastatic prostate cancer since it is so likely to spread to the bones. When the cancer does spread, the disease can become so dire that the five-year survival rate is only 34 percent, according to the study.
The antibody did not target any other type of tumor tissues in other parts of the body, including the colon, kidney, cervix, pancreas, lung, skin or bladder.
Many factors, including genetics and diet, have been implicated in the development of prostate cancer, and it tends to develop in men over the age of 50. The cancer is most common among men in the United States, though worldwide it is the second most common cancer among men, claiming half a million lives each year, according to the World Health Organization.
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