A newly-developed drug compound that takes a different approach to fighting prostate cancer has shown some very promising results in early testing phases.
Cyclic Peptides to the Rescue
Developed by a team of researchers from the NYU School of Medicine, the new compound is composed of “cyclic peptides” directly in response to the inability of most prostate cancer drugs to target cancer growth directly. Cyclic peptides differ from typical medications designed to treat prostate cancer in that, unlike existing treatments that target hormone production, cyclic peptides disrupt cancer growth in a different way altogether.
In fact, cyclic peptides work by interfering with the proteins that are needed to facilitate cell division and growth on a genetic level. The development of the prostate in early life relies on cell growth, of course, but is unnecessary in healthy adult men; in instances where it never stops, this cell growth often leads to the formation of cancerous tumors. With cyclic peptides working to shut off these genetic instructions to divide and grow, prostate cancer can — theoretically — be stopped in its tracks.
Highly Effective — In Controlled Environments
So far, cyclic peptide compounds have accomplished some incredibly effective results, though these results have been confined to extremely controlled environments. One of the most striking of these outcomes, as referenced in the new research paper, is the compound’s ability to reduce prostate cell growth by up to 95 percent in a laboratory environment while experimenting with cancer cell cultures.
Effectiveness in treating cultures is, of course, not the same thing as being an effective treatment in a real-world situation. Clinical trials for cyclic peptides is obviously quite some time away, and even if this new compound makes it into widespread use there’s no guarantee that it’s going to be a “magic bullet” that will destroy all types of prostate cancers that exist. Yet despite the very early stages of this research, hopes remain high that sometime in the future there will be cyclic peptide-based drug therapies available to prostate cancer patients that may treat their conditions better than — or at least as well as — current medications in existence.