July 22, 2008

Drug Combats Untreatable Prostate Cancer

The Phase 1 clinical trial of the drug abiraterone revealed significant tumor shrinkage in men with advanced prostate cancer, researchers in Britain said.

The trial also found dramatic falls in the prostate specific antigen levels in the majority of advanced prostate cancer patients who received the drug.

The clinical trial was undertaken by London-based The Institute of Cancer Research and The Royal Marsden Hospital.

Lead researcher Dr. Johann de Bono said the the new drug abiraterone worked to block the generation of key hormones that drive the growth of prostate cancers.

Clinical benefits included evidence of PSA falls and tumor shrinkage which was observed in 70 percent to 80 percent of patients, de Bono said in the statement. Abiraterone works not only in blocking the generation of these hormones in the testes, but also elsewhere in the body, including generation of hormones in the cancer itself.

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, said that the drug could treat up to 80 percent of patients with aggressive and previously drug resistant prostate cancer.

If the Phase III trial -- begun last April -- is successful, experts said the drug may be available by 2011.