Developments to Watch
AN ALTERNATIVE TO PROSTATE CANCER SURGERY?
Patients diagnosed with prostate cancer face agonizing choices. Since removing the gland can lead to incontinence, impotence, or both, many doctors hesitate to operate at the first sign of the slow-progressing disease. On the other hand, metastatic prostate cancer is very difficult to treat. So waiting until symptoms appear may be courting tragedy.
Researchers at George Washington University Medical Center and the National Institutes of Health have uncovered clues that may help postpone the need for surgery. They found that uteroglobin, a protein found in the prostate gland and other tissues, inhibits the ability of cancer cells to invade other connective-tissue cells in vitro up to 88% of the time. It's not a cure, but the protein may offer a way of containing the prostate cancer cells, which are found in nearly 15% of American men in their 50s. George Washington researchers have applied for grants to conduct follow-up studies with mice.EDITED BY NEIL GROSS