From the University of Oslo, Department of Biosciences, researchers have found that a new technique which inhibits prostate cancer development, could enhance the effectiveness of existing drug treatments.
This new research could proof promising for those most at risk of prostate cancer.
The condition is common among young and adult African-American men and men with a strong family history of prostate cancer.
According to the World Cancer Research Fund, Prostate cancer is the second most commonly occurring cancer in men and the fourth most commonly occurring cancer overall with 1.3 million recorded cases in 2018.
Both WHO and GLOBOCAN suggest incidence rates are highest in Sub-Saharan Africa. Over 100 thousand cases are been reported yearly in Nigeria, these figures are much lower for other African countries including South Africa and Ghana.
Published in the journal Nature Communications, the research intracellular signaling pathways in prostate cancer cells, lead by Prof. Fahri Saatcioglu focused on identifying how androgens, male sex hormones impacts prostate cancer risk.
“We think that what we found is really exciting. We have shown that a new small molecule drug called MKC8866 has very good effect on the growth of prostate cancer cells both in cell culture and in animal experiments, and we are already planning clinical trials with humans. We expect these trials to be carried out in Scandinavia and Western Europe”, says Saatcioglu.
The New Drug
The research group has documented that MKC8866 a small molecule belonging to a group of substances called hydroxy-aryl-aldehydes, counteracts the growth of prostate cancer tumors and shown that it interferes with a kind of chain reaction – a signaling pathway – that is associated with the cells’ stress response.
“All cells in the body can experience different forms of stress from time to time, and the cancer cells are under extra stress because they have to grow fast while having trouble getting enough oxygen and nutrients. Therefore, the cancer cells “hijack” the normal cells’ stress response mechanisms and use these for their own benefit to survive. We have found a way to block this “hijacking” and thus the cancer cells can no longer cope. So they die”, says Saatcioglu.
Professor Saatcioglu and an international group of research partners demonstrated in 2015 both one signal path that is activated and another that is inhibited in prostate cancer cells, thus they began to study the activated signal path – with the term IRE1.
It has not previously been known that this signal path has a function in the development of prostate cancer, but the IBV researchers soon found that it is particularly important for the activation of an oncoprotein – a protein that was earlier found to have an important role in prostate cancer – termed c-MYC.
“Now we have used MKC8866, which was developed for other purposes, and shown that it inhibits the signal pathway and oncoprotein activation. Thus, it also inhibits the growth of prostate cancer tumors both in vitro – cell culture – and in vivo – in mouse prostate cancer models”, Saatcioglu says.
For a drug which is yet to undergo clinical trials, the Professor believes their chances of success are higher. Medical Express.