Scientists have discovered a way to “switch off” prostate cancer (PCa) cell production in mice with a thrice-weekly injection, according to a study published in Oncogene.
Researchers from Bristol and Nottingham Universities noted that the SPRK1 molecule plays a vital role in angiogenesis, which is an essential process through which tumors form blood vessels and obtain nutrients to grow.
They found that by stopping the SRPK1 molecule from working through the use of drugs known as SPHINX compounds, they were able to halt tumor growth in mouse models.
“We reasoned that inhibition of SRPK1 activity could stop cancer progression,” said Sebastian Oltean, MBBS, PhD, of the University of Bristol’s School of Physiology and Pharmacology and a study co-author. “We show in this paper that if we decrease SPRK1 levels in PCa cells, or in tumors grafted into mice, we are able to switch vascular endothelial growth factor splicing and therefore inhibit tumor vasculature and growth.”
They believe that the results of their study could lead to a novel way to treat PCa patients as well as a possible wider application to several other types of cancer.
The biotech company Exonate, based in Nottingham, is currently developing SPRK1 inhibitors for the treatment of diseases that involve abnormal vessel development.
Scientists believe a new treatment, shown to be effective in mice, could halt the growth of tumours in patients with prostate cancer. Pioneering research, by academics at the Universities of Bristol, Nottingham and the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), 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 today [10 November] in the journal Oncogene, show that targeting a molecule called SRPK1 could stop progression of prostate cancer.