A study carried out at the Institute of Cancer Research in London may have led to a major drug breakthrough.
It is hoped that the research has produced a drug that targets precise genetic mutations in prostate cancer.
This is the first such pharmaceutical product of its type.
The product of the study, Olaparib, had low overall success, but slowed tumour growth in 88 per cent of patients with specific DNA mutations.
Cancer Research UK has already commented on the trial, stating that the results are exciting.
Prostate cancer is the fifth highest killer among cancers in men.
As cancer medicine continues to develop, treating the condition via mutated DNA is becoming a state-of-the-art technology.
One such drug, Herceptin, has already been produced to address breast cancer.
Results from the trial have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which indicated that the new product was effective on 14 of 16 men with such mutations.
Levels of the prostate-specific antigen which is produced by tumours was more than halved.
The study also indicated that there was a significant reduction in the number of prostate cancer cells detected in the blood and in the size of secondary tumours.
Overall, the research indicates that this new drug could be successful in treating prostate cancer.
Dr Joaquin Mateo, one of the researchers involved in the study, was optimistic about the prospects of the drug.
“It is very promising. Those entering the trial had an expected survival of 10 to 12 months and we have many patients on the drug for longer than a year.”
Yet despite the positive news, analysts remain cautious about the prospects of this new research.
In particular, a much more extensive clinical trial will be required before doctors can determine confidently whether or not be trouble truly extend life expectancy.
Nonetheless, Dr Mateo believes that the drug produced in the trial could be the first of many available on the market. “This is the first drug that targets specific genetically defined populations and we are going to see more and more of these coming in the next few years.”
Commenting on the outcome of this particular trial, Cancer Research UK’s Dr Aine McCarthy added:“This trial is exciting because it could offer a new way to treat prostate cancer by targeting genetic mistakes in cancers that have spread. The hope is that this approach could help save many more lives in the future.”
There are over 10,000 deaths from prostate cancer every year in the UK.