Scientists at Nottingham Trent University have embarked on a groundbreaking study exploring how carnosine, a compound naturally produced in the body and found in meat, might be used to fight prostate cancer.
This cancer begins in the prostate and can spread to other parts of the body. This study is the first of its kind to investigate carnosine’s effects on prostate cancer.
Carnosine has long been praised for its antioxidant properties, believed to support healthy aging. Its potential in combatting various cancers has been suggested before, but its specific impact on prostate cancer hadn’t been explored until now.
In their research, the Nottingham Trent team, in collaboration with University Hospitals Leicester NHS Trust and Manchester Metropolitan University, made a significant discovery.
They found that carnosine not only stops the growth of prostate cancer cells but at higher doses can even kill these cells.
Importantly, it does this without harming healthy cells that aren’t dividing. Their findings are published in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine.
However, there’s a challenge with carnosine: it breaks down quickly in the body. To overcome this, the researchers suggest a slow-release mechanism might be key.
One method could be injecting carnosine directly into the tumor, releasing it in sufficient amounts before it starts to degrade.
Another strategy might involve using carnosine-like molecules that aren’t as easily broken down by the body’s enzymes.
The goal is to control tumor growth, which can be monitored through the levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the blood. If the tumor continues to grow, surgery could then be considered.
Opting for surgery as a first step can cause scarring and fusion of tissues, making any future surgeries more complicated. Therefore, finding an alternative initial treatment is crucial.
Prostate cancer is a significant health concern, especially in the U.K. where it’s the most common cancer in men. Over 52,000 cases are diagnosed annually, and one in eight men will face this diagnosis in their lifetime.
Current treatments, including radiation, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or prostatectomy, often bring side effects like urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction.
Dr. Stephanie McArdle, the lead researcher from Nottingham Trent University’s John van Geest Cancer Research Center, emphasizes the importance of their findings.
Carnosine inhibits the growth of human prostate cancer cells in lab tests, building on previous evidence of its anti-tumor effects. Yet, its specific role in prostate cancer was unknown until now.
These promising results pave the way for further research. The team suggests that carnosine, either used alone or as a supplement to traditional treatments, could potentially offer a new, less invasive approach to tackling prostate cancer.
This discovery marks a significant step forward in the fight against a disease that affects so many men worldwide.
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The research findings can be found in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine.
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