Agent prevents prostate cancer growth, spread in animal studies

By | December 6, 2014

Published online Dec. 5 in PLOS ONE, the scientists say the agent, YK-4-279, is the first drug targeted at the chromosomal translocations found in about half of prostate cancer cells. These translocations occur when two normal genes break off from a chromosome and fuse together in a new location. This so-called ETS fusion produces new genes that manufacture proteins, which then push prostate cancer cells to become more aggressive and spread.

“Having a compound that works in mouse models brings us closer to early phase human clinical trials,” says the study’s lead investigator, Aykut �ren, MD, associate professor of molecular oncology at Georgetown Lombardi. “However, we are only mid-way through that process. We need to establish the potential side effects and figure out the best way to administer this compound in a human clinical study.”

�ren and his colleagues used two prostate cancer lines growing in immunocompromised mice. “YK-4-279 was very effective against the mice with ETS fusion and was not effective against the mice without it,” �ren reports. “That demonstrated to us the specificity with which the drug works, and gave us a good reason to expect a similar response in patients with ETS fusion-positive prostate cancer in future clinical trials.”

The researchers also found that mice tolerated long-term treatment (6-12 weeks), and that YK-4-279 inhibited both the growth of the primary tumor and spread of the cancer to the lungs.

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