In a new study, researchers have developed a more efficient and less aggressive treatment of prostate cancer.
The new nanomedicine could help treat non-metastatic prostate cancer better.
In Europe, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer among men with an incidence greater than 100 cases per 100,000 individuals.
Furthermore, it is currently the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths among men.
This cancer mainly affects elderly men: nine in 10 deaths take place after 65 years of age.
Therefore, it represents a very serious health concern in developed countries, where the population of elderly men is majoritarian.
Even though docetaxel is the most used chemotherapy treatment for advanced prostate cancer, its high systemic toxicity limits both the dose as well as the duration of the therapy, which noticeably reduces its antitumour efficiency.
The new nanomedicine developed by the researchers is a system based on porous silica nanoparticles, functionalised with the docetaxel medicine and a monoclonal antibody (anti-FOLH1) which selectively interacts with the PSMA receptors of prostate cancer cells.
The system shows great stability in biological fluids and all its components are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA, United States) for clinical use.
The presence of the monoclonal antibody promotes the cellular internalisation of the nanomedicine into the malignant cells.
This way, the nanomedicine reaches more tumor cells. Furthermore, the use of a specific anchoring protocol of docetaxel to the nanoparticles enables its selective release inside the cancerous cells.
The team suggests the antitumour activity of docetaxel was improved up to a hundredfold in the in vitro studies on prostate cancer cells with PSMA receptors.
Following the in vitro study, the work is currently in a phase of in vivo pre-clinical tests.
Meanwhile, clinical trials – phase I – should begin in under two years on a reduced number of patients.
Furthermore, the researchers have also developed a new nanomarker which enables the identification of tumour tissue in the prostate with great accuracy.
Thanks to the PET image technique, they can flag the nanomedicine with a radioactive isotope which makes it possible to locate the malign tissue in the prostate with unicellular precision.
This will facilitate the diagnosis of the disease in its initial stages, thus making its early detection easier.
The study was conducted by a team of researchers from Valencia’s Polytechnic University (UPV), the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), the La Fe University and Polytechnical Hospital and the Prince Philip Research Centre (CIPF).
The study is published in the journal ACS Omega.
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Source: ACS Omega.