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Sarpsborg vs Brann

  • tom jerry
    • 2 posts
    April 10, 2020 5:29 AM PDT

    If the promise of the latest prostate cancer study is to be judged by the resume of the lead researcher, the medical/pharma community should now stand at attention. Owen N. Witte has authored an important research article to appear in the July 30 issue of the journal Science.

    Witte’s latest study identified the cells that give rise to prostate cancer in mice – and he is predicting the same processes are valid for humans. His previous research about 20 years ago helped to identify the cells that grow out of control in chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). About 10 years later, the FDA approved Gleevec, which has proven to be remarkably potent against CML.

    This time around, Witte and others at UCLA have released their findings regarding prostate cancer after years of study. Two types of cells comprise the prostate, which is filled with small tubules – luminal cells and basal cells. More studies have focused on luminal cells because prostate tumor cells look very much like them.

    However, Witte and his team ultimately discovered that it is the basal cells that become cancerous. This was determined by first identifying cell surface markers that could differentiate the basal cells and luminal cells. Then, the cells were separated and attached to donated health prostate tissue. The tissue was then made to be cancerous by infusing three types of cancer-causing genes.

    After that, the cancerous tissue was engrafted into mice with no immune system. After 16 weeks, the results were revealing. None of the luminal cells had formed tumors. But the basal cells had progressed through three stages en route to forming many tumors. A pathologist determined that the mice tumors looked identical to human prostate tumors.

    Now that these cells have been identified, it means other scientists can undertake a more efficient approach to identifying oncogenes (causative factors in the initiation of cancerous growth). Any gene can be inserted into viruses that infect basal cells, so any number of companies can test a large number of genes with the hope of identifying the target for a new drug.

    Although prostate cancer is usually survivable, more than 200,000 men per year are diagnosed with the disease annually, and about 30,000 men die because of it each year.

    Oftentimes, a finding like the latest one by Witte is necessary before an effective new drug can be discovered. Although the drug and any FDA approval would be many years away, this is promising news for the eventual treatment/cure of prostate cancer – especially if you consider Witte’s resume.

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    This post was edited by tom jerry at October 5, 2020 9:46 AM PDT