New method for combating prostate cancer developed

June 21, 2007

A novel method of drug delivery to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells has been developed by a doctoral candidate in pharmacy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The student, Danny Goldstein, received the Barenholz Prize for Creativity and Originality in Applied Research for his work. The award, named for its donor, Yehezkel Barenholz, the Dr. Daniel G. Miller Professor of Cancer Research at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, was presented recently during the 70th meeting of the Hebrew University’s Board of Governors.

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death for men in the U.S. Present treatments for metastatic prostate cancer (cancer cells that spread to other parts of the body) include hormonal therapy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which frequently have serious side effects.

The well known drug, paclitaxel, exhibits a wide spectrum of anti-tumor activity. However, its therapeutic application in cancer therapy is limited, in part, due to its low water solubility, making it difficult to effectively deliver the drug to the points needed. It is also known to induce hypersensitivity reactions. Therefore, novel methods are needed that would allow for delivery of effective concentrations of paclitaxel over extended time intervals while minimizing toxicity.

Targeting drugs to disseminated prostate metastases is one of the most challenging goals in prostate cancer therapy. Drug carriers -- nanoemulsions, liposomes (fatty droplets) and nanoparticles -- have shown great potential as delivery systems for an increasing number of active molecules. Although capable of enhanced accumulation in the target tissue, these carriers cannot achieve their missions unless specific binding agents are attached to them which will ensure that they succeed in attaching to the targeted tissues.

It has been shown that the HER2 receptor is over-expressed in prostate cancer cells. It was also known that trastuzumab (an antibody) binds specifically to HER2. But there had been no clinical data indicating that this antibody would provide any relief for prostate cancer patients.

Goldstein, a student of Prof. Simon Benita, was able to show that attaching trastuzumab molecules to the surface of oil droplets in nanoemulsions made possible the targeting of such droplets to cells over-expressing the HER2 receptor. He coupled trastuzumab with emulsions containing the toxic agent paclitaxel-palmitate and evaluated the efficiency of these emulsions in laboratory tests on cancerous prostate cells and on mice with induced prostate cancer. He found that this emulsion compound did not cause a hypersensitive reaction upon injection and even yielded better results than known drug treatments while inhibiting tumor growth substantially.

Goldstein cautions that this inhibiting activity of tumor metastases growth was not absolute and that while the results are encouraging, there is a need for further research to combat metastatic prostate cancer. Prof. Benita added that he hopes clinical trials using the new method can begin in about two years.

Source: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Explore further: Dietary fat, changes in fat metabolism may promote prostate cancer metastasis

Related Stories

Dietary fat, changes in fat metabolism may promote prostate cancer metastasis

January 15, 2018
Prostate tumors tend to be what scientists call "indolent" - so slow-growing and self-contained that many affected men die with prostate cancer, not of it. But for the percentage of men whose prostate tumors metastasize, ...

Metformin could one day be used to treat malignant tumors

January 16, 2018
A*STAR researchers have provided strong evidence, using patient tumor grafts, that metformin, a common diabetes drug, might help fight colorectal cancer in humans.

Researchers report a new target to treat prostate cancer

December 22, 2017
The drug Gefitinib is used to treat breast, lung, and other cancers by inhibiting epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling, but it has only a limited effect on prostate cancer. EGFR, present on the cell membrane, ...

Researchers discover that a 'muscle' cancer is not really a muscle cancer

January 8, 2018
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital oncologists have discovered the cell type that gives rise to rhabdomyosarcoma, the most prevalent soft tissue cancer in children. Previously, scientists thought the cancer arose from ...

Improved blood stabilization should expand use of circulating tumor cell profiling

January 8, 2018
A new blood stabilization method, developed at the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Engineering in Medicine (MGH-CEM), significantly prolongs the lifespan of blood samples for microfluidic sorting and transcriptome ...

Tapeworm drug fights prostate cancer

November 15, 2017
Cancer researchers at the University of Bergen (UiB) in Norway have in the recent years experienced with hundreds of known drugs, to see how they influence cancer cells.

Recommended for you

Single blood test screens for eight cancer types

January 18, 2018
Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers developed a single blood test that screens for eight common cancer types and helps identify the location of the cancer.

These foods may up your odds for colon cancer

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—Chowing down on red meat, white bread and sugar-laden drinks might increase your long-term risk of colon cancer, a new study suggests.

The pill lowers ovarian cancer risk, even for smokers

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—It's known that use of the birth control pill is tied to lower odds for ovarian cancer, but new research shows the benefit extends to smokers or women who are obese.

Researchers find a way to 'starve' cancer

January 18, 2018
Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to starve a tumor and stop its growth with a newly discovered small compound that blocks uptake of the vital ...

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

January 18, 2018
Cancer metastasis, the migration of cells from a primary tumor to form distant tumors in the body, can be triggered by a chronic leakage of DNA within tumor cells, according to a team led by Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial ...

Modular gene enhancer promotes leukemia and regulates effectiveness of chemotherapy

January 18, 2018
Every day, billions of new blood cells are generated in the bone marrow. The gene Myc is known to play an important role in this process, and is also known to play a role in cancer. Scientists from the German Cancer Research ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.