Cancer Research UK-funded scientists have developed a new way to test the effectiveness of a drug for prostate cancer that has spread to the bone, which is currently incurable, according to research published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
The researchers, based at the Cancer Research UK Cancer Imaging Center at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, have successfully used a combination of imaging techniques to see how a drug called cabozantinib can stop this type of prostate cancer growing in mice.
The imaging approach involves a combination of bioluminescent cells, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and computed tomography (CT). This combination of techniques allows for the most accurate clarity on tumor growth within bone to date, as well as analysis of the impact on the healthiness of the bones themselves.
One great advantage of this approach is that the tumors closely resemble how prostate cancer develops in human bone. The ability to test these new treatments accurately offers huge potential for the use of drugs like cabozantinib in clinical trials.
“Until now we haven’t been able to directly measure how effective treatments are for this type of incurable prostate cancer. But together these imaging techniques allow us to watch how the tumor and the surrounding bone are affected by new drugs,” said Dr. Simon Robinson, team leader for pre-clinical MRI within the division of radiotherapy and imaging at The Institute of Cancer Research, London. “This approach can tell us how fast the cancer is growing and the potential impact on a patient’s quality of life. Our work with the drug cabozantinib suggests it may provide pain relief in addition to stopping tumor growth. This method allows us to accelerate development of these promising new prostate cancer drugs from the laboratory to the clinic.”
Prostate cancer affects around 41,700 men in the UK each year. Over 80% of men will survive the disease for at least five years. But prostate cancer that has spread to the bone is much more difficult to treat.
Nell Barrie, Cancer Research UK’s senior science communications manager, said: “Prostate cancer most often spreads to the bones, where it is currently incurable. We need this type of research to develop frontline treatments for prostate cancer patients. This approach will help us discover successful treatments more quickly and save more lives.”
The study received funding from the Cancer Research UK and EPSRC Cancer Imaging Center.
Date: March 17, 2014
Source: Cancer Research UK