The best way to prevent the lethal spread of prostate cancer is by stopping cancer cell invasion of other tissues. Available treatments such as chemotherapy are toxic and can often be risky for older men, who are also most likely to get prostate cancer. In response, researchers from SRI International have identified a drug candidate that shows promise stopping both prostate cancer growth and cancer cell invasion. Early studies show that this class of drug is orally effective and has an excellent safety profile.
A combined prevention and treatment approach is significant because there currently are no effective drugs to treat prostate cancer, and its earliest beginnings are difficult to diagnose. Preliminary studies of SRI's drug candidate show anticancer activity against prostate tumor cell proliferation, progression, and invasion in both androgen-sensitive and insensitive prostate cancer. Study results were presented at the March 10, 2011 Prostate Cancer Research Program's (PCRP's) Innovative Minds in Prostate Cancer Today (IMPaCT) conference in Orlando, Florida. The study was supported by a Department of Defense/Prostate Cancer Research Program (PCRP) Laboratory-Clinical Transition grant.
Further preclinical testing by SRI researchers will advance the drug towards clinical trials in patients.
The SRI drug candidate is developed from a naturally occurring anti-cancer agent found in cruciferous vegetables such as cabbages and broccoli. Because the drug is derived from chemicals inside healthy foods, its safety profile is better than alternative treatments such as chemotherapy. Earlier successful research on a similarly-derived breast cancer drug led researchers to expand testing of this novel class of compounds to prostate cancer models.
"Since cancer cells are able to develop diverse pathways for growth and cell survival, multi-target drugs and a network approach are the most beneficial to patients," said Ling Jong, Ph.D., principal investigator of the study and a senior program director in SRI's Biosciences Division. "We think this strategy can lead to safe and effective treatments that will improve quality of life and lower the mounting costs of drug development."