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New drug prevents spread of human prostate cancer cells

WASHINGTON, April 5 — U.S. researchers have developed a new drug that could prevent human prostate cancer cells from spreading to other tissues without any toxic effects to normal cells or tissues. The research was presented this week at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2012 in Chicago.

In the study, Northwestern University researchers transplanted aggressive human prostate cancer cells into mice prostate tissue and fed the mice with the new drug for five weeks. The drug inhibited movement of the cells and prevented them from metastasizing to the lung, one of the tissues to which prostate cancer spreads in men. The researchers then conducted extensive toxicity studies, including on normal human cells, and found that the drug, called KBU2046, is nontoxic and does not cause any harmful effects.

The drug works by binding to and disabling proteins in the cancer cell that instruct it to move, said Raymond Bergan, a professor of medicine at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine.

"This is an extremely promising new therapeutic that locks down aggressive prostate cancer cells so they don't move," said Bergan. "The spread of prostate cancer is what kills men. Cancer cells have a switch that tells them to keep moving all the time. This drug turns it off."

The researchers hope to test the drug in a clinical trial.

Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in North American males. Death is mainly caused by metastasis, prostate cancer cells moving out of prostate tissue and spreading to other organs. (PNA/Xinhua)

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