British scientists discover that a common asthma drug could stop prostate cancer spreading
British scientists have made a landmark discovery that could help slow or even stop the spread of prostate cancer to the bones.
Once prostate cancer has formed tumour outposts in bone marrow, the disease is usually considered incurable.
But scientists at
They found that a protein in bone marrow acts like a magnetic docking station for prostate cancer cells in the blood.
And they have also discovered that a non-toxic drug known only as AS1517499, previously tested for treating allergic asthma, appears to stop the cancer from growing once embedded in the bone.
The researchers now hope to test the drug on patients with advanced prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer kills more than 11,000 men a year in
Without this docking station, the ship, or cell, will just float around, not causing any further harm, he added.
Certain proteins in bone act like magnetic docking stations for the receptors on the stem cells of the cancer. Once docked, a signal is sent to the cancer cells nucleus which instructs it to start growing the cancer colony.
As a result, about 80 per cent of men with advanced prostate cancer suffer from tumours in the bone. These grow and eventually overcome the body, proving fatal.