CHAPEL HILL, N.C., July 9 (UPI) — U.S. researchers say their findings may open the door for new treatments for advanced prostate cancer.
Researchers at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, N.C., say they are seeking to find out why therapies reducing the male hormone androgen help slow cancer’s development and spread, especially initially, but may not be effective in some advanced prostate cancers.
They found androgen receptors — proteins that bind with androgen — can become active in concert with other proteins called co-regulators even when androgen is absent.
The study, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, found a group of genes known as the MAGE-11 molecule works together with a protein that acts as strong modifying enzyme that spurs androgen receptor activity.
“This is exciting because it shows how the cancer cells have developed a way to boost androgen receptor activity, even in the absence or at low levels of the hormone that binds the androgen receptor,” study leader Elizabeth Wilson said in a statement. “The MAGE-11 molecule is a promising target for shutting down androgen receptor activity that promotes the growth of cancer cells.”
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