Molecular Breakthrough Halt The Spread Of Prostate Cancer

Scientists believe a new treatment, shown to be effective in mice, could halt the growth of tumours in patients with prostate cancer.
Scientists believe a new treatment, shown to be effective in
mice, could halt the growth of tumours in patients with prostate
cancer. (Image source)
Scientists believe a new treatment, shown to be effective in mice, could halt the growth of tumours in patients with prostate cancer. Pioneering research shows that a specific compound can inhibit the activity of a molecule which is key to how tumours form new blood vessels. The vessels are essential for the cancer cells to survive and multiply. The findings, published in the journal Oncogene, show that targeting a molecule called SRPK1 could stop progression of prostate cancer.
 
SRPK1 plays a vital role in 'angiogenesis', an essential process through which tumours are able to form blood vessels and obtain necessary nutrients to fuel their growth. This process is mainly regulated by VEGF, vascular endothelial growth factor, which can activate or inhibit vessel formation depending on how the gene is controlled by a cellular process called 'alternative splicing'. By analysing samples of human prostate cancer, researchers observed that SRPK1 increases as the cancer gets more aggressive.
 
Researchers showed that drugs known as SPHINX compounds, designed to inhibit specifically the activity of SRPK1, are able to decrease tumour growth in a mouse model of prostate cancer when given three times weekly by injections.
 
Biotech company Exonate, a spin-out drug development company from the University of Nottingham, aims to develop SRPK1 inhibitors as treatments for diseases with abnormal vessel development such as age-related macular degeneration and cancer.