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Researchers Discover How To Halt Prostate Cancer Spread

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Prostate Cancer Treatment Research

There is a new breakthrough in search for prostate cancer treatment. Following three years of study, University of Southern California researchers have found a way to halt the spread of prostate cancer. Suppression of the GRP78 protein, a genetic biomarker of aggressive prostate cancer, leads researchers to what they consider a "breakthrough" in cancer research. Amy Lee, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, the study's principal investigator, says, "This research has far-reaching implications in a wide range for human cancers,"

GRP78 contributes to the spread of prostate cancer. It protects tumors, and prevents cancer cells from dying. The human gene, phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), inhibits abnormal tissue growth; preventing tumors. PTEN is lost in the presence of the GRP78 protein.

First author of the study, Yong Fu, a Ph.D, in conjunction with Ph.D. candidates Shiuan Wey, Miao Wang, Risheng Ye and Chun-Peng Liao and Pradip Roy-Burman, professor of pathology, biochemistry and molecular biology at the Keck School spent three years studying the effects of PTEN and GRP78 on prostate cancer. They found that they could halt the spread prostate cancer by blocking the effect of GRP78 in lab mice that were genetically engineered with both of the genes suppressed. Dr. Lee says, "With the recent advances in identifying agents that suppress GRP78 expression, anti-GRP78 therapy may open up an entirely new approach to stop human cancer."

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Dr. Lee says, "To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration that inactivation of a specific molecular chaperone from the mouse prostate epithelial cells can potently block prostate cancer." The researchers believe their study has a wide range of possibilities for treating other types of cancers in humans.

Prostate cancer develops in stages. GRP78 has been identified as a crucial element that promotes tumorous cell growth, contributing to advanced disease. Prostate cancer is the most common cause of cancer in men, often producing no symptoms in its early stages. Focus has been geared toward prevention through screening and dietary interventions. Current treatment options for prostate cancer include surgery, radiation, hormone therapy and active surveillance for the development of symptoms.

Targeted therapy that can stop the spread of prostate cancer, by inactivating genetic proteins, is an entirely new and promising cancer treatment approach.

Source: Suppressing Prostate Cancer Development – USC News