The U.S. Department of Defense will provide a $562,500 grant for Dr. Subhash Chauhan, a professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), to study ormeloxifene as a treatment for advanced prostate cancer.
Originally a birth control drug, this selective estrogen receptor modulator will be tested to stop prostate tumor growth and development.
“Metastatic prostate cancer is a major clinical challenge. We are trying to develop a therapeutic drug that can inhibit prostate cancer metastasis via suppression of a master oncogenic signaling pathway. Inhibition of this pathway will eventually inhibit several other cancer metastasis-associated genes to suppress the process of cancer spreading,” Dr. Chauhan said in a Memphis Daily News interview.
Dr. Chauhan and Dr. Meena Jaggi, an associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UTHSC, along with a team of 10 researchers, will lead the study. The team had already published some of their work in The Journal of Cancer Research, whereby they demonstrated the capacity of ormeloxifene to inhibit cell proliferation in four prostate cell lines in a dose dependent manner. Additionally, ormeloxifene also suppressed clonogenic, cell motility and invasive characteristics of C4-2 androgen-refractory prostate cancer cells.
According to the American Cancer Society, there are, in the United States alone, around 233,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer, of which 29,480 result in fatalities. Among these men, African-American ones have an increased risk (2.5 times) of dying from the disease when diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Early diagnosis is crucial for promoting overall survival in prostate cancer patients, with the medical community announcing colonoscopies as an early detector of the malignancy. However, “when it comes time to do (prostate cancer) surgery, we cannot remove the whole thing. It can come back,” Dr. Chauhan explained.
The current statistics can be intimidating: about 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with a form of prostate cancer throughout their lifetime, with the risks increasing past the age of 65 years (average time of diagnosis is 66 years of age).
It is uncommon to diagnose men before the age of 40, and colonoscopies are only recommended after a man reaches 50 years of age.
“Incidence of prostate cancer is relatively higher in Western countries, like the United States, compared to other parts of the world, like Japan, China and India,” Chauhan said. “Studies suggest diet may play an important role in lower cancer prevalence and death rate in those parts of the world where they consume certain spices, including curcumin”.