A week into Movember, and medical insurance holders will be pleased to hear that a simple injection to halt the growth of prostate cancer could be ready within a decade.
An injection to slow the growth of progress cancer could be ready within a decade
Prostate cancer patients currently face surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, all of which can cause debilitating side effects such as loss of libido and impotence.
Now, a breakthrough study has discovered that scientists can alter ‘puppet master’ genes which control the growth and spread of prostate cancer.
Researchers funded by Prostate Cancer UK and the Medical Research Council (MRC) targeted the activity of non-cancerous cells called ‘fibroblasts’. These fibroblast cells are situated next to cancer cells and encourage the tumour to grow.
Writing in the science journal Disease Models and Mechanisms, the scientists found that turning on key genes inside fibroblast cells dramatically reduced the size of the prostate tumours when grown in mice.
The size of the mice’s tumours dropped three-fold and their growth rate halved.
Researchers say that technique has great potential in humans because some of the cells in the experiment were taken from cancer patients. It is possible that synthetic proteins could be used, possibly by infusion into the bloodstream, to achieve the effect.
Whilst the findings may not offer a full cure to prostate cancer, they could significantly increase survival rates. Experts hope the technique could be brought to the market within 10 years.
Dr Rachel Macdonald, Research Manager at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “This is an extremely encouraging development which could have positive and far reaching consequences for prostate cancer treatments in years to come.”
One of the key benefits of having a medical insurance policy is having access to new cancer drugs and treatments before they become approved for widespread use on the NHS. For more information, look for a policy with full cancer cover.
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