Even though treatment for prostate cancer is available in many forms such as chemotherapy, or hormonal therapy, in many men, the disease will grow further and progress in spite of treatment.
However, a recent study conducted by the Chair of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute has made rather startling findings. They found a kind of new stem cell, which has proven itself resistant to all the conventional methods of treating prostate cancer, such as hormone therapy or radiation.
- The cells strongly look like prostate cancer cells: These cells are made resistant to therapy, and are highly similar to the cells at the level of molecules, to high risk prostate cancer-causing cells. Most prostate glands, and tumors have a certain number of limited cells called a luminal progenitor, which are usually inactive. They aren’t targeted by the treatment for prostate cancer, and are also not really affected by hormones, thus making the usual modes of treatment like chemotherapy and hormonal treatment rather useless. These modes of treatment, which try to starve the cells of hormones like testosterone do not target these stem cells.
- Their existence has been hypothesized: The presence of such a kind of cell which is slow moving and dormant has been postulated before, but their existence and features were not known. This is because they are rare, and very difficult to analyze.
- New type of cancer treatments can be found: Since these unique cells have been discovered now, it is possible to focus on them as a way to develop a method to cure cancers which are treatment resistant. Therapy to target these quiescent cells can be discovered, and this is the next step.
In the future, this will significantly improve cancer treatment, and even reduce and prevent it from recurring.