Scientists have discovered a protein that prevents prostate cancer cells from growing. The protein even makes the cells “kill themselves.” Researchers at Imperial College London said the discovery could help doctors tell the difference between common, slow growing forms of prostate cancer from the aggressive, faster growing forms. However, Dr. David B. Samadi, a robotic prostatectomy, robotic surgery, and prostate cancer treatment expert, Vice Chairman, Department of Urology, and Chief of Robotics and Minimally Invasive Surgery at The Mount Sinai Medical Center said, “This is an exciting discovery for the field and gives us hope that one day we can manage and prevent prostate cancer.”
Researchers found the protein, FUS, which occurs naturally in cells, may curb the growth of prostate cancer cells and begin a chain of events that leads to their death, according to a report in the journal Cancer Research. When the amount of FUS was increased, more cells died, which suggested that a drug that boosts the protein levels in patients could prove beneficial in preventing prostate cancer cells from spreading beyond the prostate gland.
The FUS protein is also linked to the severity of prostate cancer, which tends to be more severe in men with lower levels of the protein. Researchers say that FUS could be crucial in the progression of prostate cancer. However, it is still not clear if FUS could be useful in determining how aggressive prostate cancer is. Increasing FUS levels could possibly slow down prostate cancer tumor growth or improve response to hormone therapy.
However, it should be noted that FUS only slows the growth of prostate cancer cells when grown in controlled conditions. Dr. Samadi believes that merely prostate cancer cells act differently in a lab versus than in the human body, which may not represent a true picture of how the protein will behave in reality. “It is important to remember that more research will be needed on this discovery, so it will still be some time before men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer will see direct benefits,” said Samadi.
Critics say many prostate cancer patients undergo unnecessary surgeries and therapies, which often carry a high risk of incontinence and impotence. Not so, says Dr. Samadi, who developed the robotic prostate surgery method known as the SMART Surgery Technique. “SMART Surgery removes prostate cancer with improved sexual function and continence recovery,” said Samadi, a robotic prostate surgery expert with over 3,200 successful surgeries to his credit.
“Currently, doctors use a variety of prostate cancer screening methods, including blood tests and biopsies, to determine who is most at risk and how they should be treated,” said Dr. Samadi, “but science has yet to give us a single tool that is completely reliable.” The FUS research is still in its early stages, but if further studies confirm the findings, FUS could hold promise for future therapies.Health articles