Lund University researchers are working on a project to develop new treatment options involving the attack of stem cell-like cells in prostate cancer. These new treatment methods are being explored because Prostate cancer is now resistant to hormone treatment, radiation, as well as chemotherapy.
A study that was recently published in the scientific online journal PLoS ONE reports the latest findings of a booming interdisciplinary project conducted by two research groups involving senior researcher Rebecka Hellsten and Professor Anders Bjartell at the Faculty of Medicine’s division for Urological Cancer Research, Skåne University Hospital in Malmö, and Professor Olov Sterner and Assistant Professor Martin Johansson at the Lund University division of Organic Chemistry .
Anders Bjartell says, “Prostatic tumors are thought to consist only of about 0.1 per cent cancer stem cells, but if you are not successful in eradicating that tumor cell population, there is a risk of subsequent uncontrolled growth of the tumor. The cancer stem cells are often unresponsive to both hormonal treatment and to chemotherapy, so it is essential to develop a direct treatment towards all types of cancer cells.”
By studying the tumor biology of prostate cancer, the research team has identified that the stem cell-like cells contain the active protein STAT3. Previous studies have proved that STAT3 gets affected by a natural compound known as galiellalactone, which also inhibits prostate cancer growth.
The researchers aspire to design targeted therapies that can combat stem cell-like cancer cells in prostate cancer and prevent the growth and proliferation of the tumor by developing new specific STAT3-inhibitors using galiellalactone as a reference.