New York: Researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have created a new molecule for prostate cancer that has shown great efficacy when tested in mice.
The findings suggest that the new therapeutic might be a viable treatment for prostate cancer in humans too if it is found effective the future clinical trials.
The treatment was designed to inhibit the activity of a protein called PAK-1, which contributes to the development of highly invasive prostate cancer cells.
“PAK-1 is kind of like an on/off switch,” said study co-author Somanath Shenoy, associate professor at University of Georgia College of Pharmacy in the US.
“When it turns on, it makes cancerous cells turn into metastatic cells that spread throughout the body,” Shenoy noted.
The researchers developed a way to package and administer a small molecule called IPA-3, which limits the activity of PAK-1 proteins.
The findings were published in the journal Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine.
The researchers enveloped the IPA-3 molecule in a bubble-like structure called a liposome and injected it intravenously.
The liposome shell surrounding IPA-3 ensures that it is not metabolised by the body too quickly, allowing the inhibitor enough time to disrupt the PAK-1 protein.
The researchers found that this molecule significantly slowed the progression of cancer in mice, and it also forced the cancerous cells to undergo apoptosis – a kind of programmed cell death.
“The results of our experiments are promising, and we hope to move toward clinical trials soon, but we must figure out what side effects this treatment may have before we can think about using it in humans,” Shenoy said.