New hope was offered today to men with advanced prostate cancer that no longer responds to hormone therapy – a persistent problem in prostate cancer treatment.
Medicinal chemists at the Welsh School of Pharmacy in Cardiff have identified compounds that could offer brand new treatments for prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is usually treated with hormonal therapy. However, at some point the cancer usually becomes resistant to this therapy. In recent years it has been suggested that vitamins A and D might have some therapeutic effect in hormonerefractory prostate cancer. These vitamins are thought to suppress the growth of cancer cells and restore the control of cell growth that is lost in cancer. The problem is, however, that the vitamins are metabolised quickly in the body and so do not stay around long enough to exert any anticancer effect.
The Cardiff research, which looks at ways to prevent the fast metabolism of vitamins A and D, is still at an early stage, but researcher Sook-Wah Yee says that the data is very encouraging: “An enzyme inhibitor could act indirectly as an anticancer agent by preventing the breakdown of the differentiating agents vitamins A and D. In theory, such a compound might be able to be used as combination treatment with the vitamins,” she explains.
The next step will be to investigate activity of the new compounds in prostate cancer cell lines.
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) is the regulatory and professional body for pharmacists in England, Scotland and Wales. The primary objective of the RPSGB is to lead, regulate and develop the pharmacy profession.