Aggressive Prostate Cancer Marker Works to Deliver Killing Agent to Cells in Early Study

Aggressive Prostate Cancer Marker Works to Deliver Killing Agent to Cells in Early Study
A molecular marker that helps to determine if a prostate cancer is aggressive and likely to return, called NAALADL2, may also be used to direct therapies against the cancer, according to research presented at the National Cancer Research Institute (NRCI) Cancer Conference that recently took place in Liverpool. Scientists at the University College London had previously reported that the NAALADL2 molecule was highly expressed at the surface of prostate cancer cells compared to healthy cells, and that prostate cancer patients with unusually high levels of this marker on their tumors were at least twice as likely to experience cancer recurrence after surgery than other patients. NAALADL2 levels, they reported, appeared to correlate with cancer aggressiveness. Now the same team found that the molecule may be used to target cancer therapies at tumor sites. "Using antibodies mounted with a toxic payload, we can exploit the fact that aggressive prostate cancer cells have more NAALADL2," Dr. Hayley Luxton, lead researcher with the university's Molecular Diagnostics and Therapeutics Laboratory, said in a press release. Researchers linked the drug saporin, which induces cell death by preventing protein synthesis, to an antibody targeting the NAALADL2 protein. Working in a lab cell culture, they found that the antibody-conjugated drug killed cancer cells. "The next step is to further develop this for use in patients, which we hope can be done in a relatively short timeframe," Luxton said. "This research was attractive to us as something that could potentially distinguish those so-called 'pussy cat' cancers f
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