July 28, 2008

Cancer Drug Hope

SCIENTISTS are hailing a new drug to treat aggressive prostate cancer as potentially the most significant advance in the field for 70 years.

Abiraterone could treat up to 80% of patients with a deadly form of the disease resistant to currently available chemotherapy, they said.

The drug works by blocking the hormones which fuel the cancer.

The Institute of Cancer Research hopes a simple pill form will be available in two to three years.

An advanced clinical trial involving 1,200 patients around the world is under way, with more trials likely later this year.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men. It is estimated up to 10,000 men a year in the UK are diagnosed with the most aggressive - and almost always lethal - form of prostate cancer.

Typical life expectancy following chemotherapy is no more than 18 months.

It had been assumed that the cancer was driven by sex hormones such as testosterone produced in the testicles.

Current treatments work by stopping the testicles from producing testosterone.

Abiraterone works by blocking production of the hormones throughout the body.

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