In a new study, researchers have found new drugs which inhibit the activity of a protein linked to prostate and other cancers.
The finding provides a promising avenue for research to potentially develop new therapies to treat a range of cancers.
The research was conducted by a team from the University of Bath.
In the United Kingdom, prostate cancer is the most common male-specific cancer with 47,151 new diagnoses reported in 2015 and 11,287 deaths in 2014.
It accounts for 26% of all cancers diagnosed in men, with one in eight men being diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
Although 84% of men will survive for at least 10 years with the disease, new treatments are urgently needed especially for those men diagnosed with more advanced disease.
In the study, the team focused on the protein called AMACR.
Levels of the AMACR protein and its activity are increased by ~10-fold in all prostate cancers, and a number of other cancers as well.
Reducing levels of AMACR in prostate cancer cells using genetic techniques could make them less aggressive.
But until recently, it was difficult to accurately measure AMACR activity and therefore hard to determine the effectiveness of drugs designed to reduce AMACR activity.
The team found a new family of drugs which inhibit AMACR.
This work resulted in a 20-fold increase in the effectiveness in the drugs compared to those drugs already known.
The team says the finding provides some really promising avenues to explore as scientists work towards developing new treatments against prostate cancer, and other cancers where AMACR is involved.
The lead author of the study is Dr. Matthew Lloyd, from the Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology.
The study is published in the journal Bioorganic Chemistry.
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