New cancer treatment kills prostate tumor cells

Washington D.C., Dec. 13: A new study has revealed that prostate tumor cells can be killed by combining radiation treatment with suicide gene therapy, a technique in which prostate cancer cells are genetically modified.

The research undertaken by researchers at Houston Methodist Hospital revealed that the long-term outcome for prostate cancer patients receiving gene therapy in combination with radiotherapy with or without hormonal therapy is promising.

Lead researcher E. Brian Butler, M.D., chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Houston Methodist and senior author on the JRO paper said that once the herpes virus gene was delivered, it started manufacturing TK, and after they gave patients a commonly used anti-herpes drug, valacyclovir, the combination attacked the herpes DNA, and the TK-producing tumor cells self-destructed, which is why the procedure is called ‘suicide gene therapy.

Butler added they have created a vaccine with the patient’s own cancer cells, a treatment that complements, and may even enhance, what they can achieve with traditional radiation and hormonal therapies.

Bin Teh, M.D., vice chair of Houston Methodist’s Department of Radiation Oncology said majority of patients in the clinical trial experienced little or no side effects or complications, adding Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and causes significant mortality.

The study is published in Journal of Radiation Oncology. (ANI)