“A drug used to treat HIV infection can slow the spread of prostate cancer, research has shown,” The Independent reports.
The news centres on the drug maraviroc (Celsentri), which researchers have found may slow the spread of prostate cancer into the bone and brain in early tests in mice.
Each man’s prostate cancer can progress in different ways. Many cases grow slowly, and the cancer remains within the prostate. A minority of cases are highly aggressive and can spread into other areas of the body, such as bones and the brain – a process known as metastasis.
In this research, scientists found a way to prompt mouse prostate cells to take on the characteristics of metastatic cancer cells, and then studied what proteins played a role in this change.
A protein called CCR5 was found to be implicated. Luckily maraviroc, a drug licensed for treating people with HIV, is already known to inhibit this protein. Giving maraviroc to mice that had been injected with the prostate cancer-like cells reduced the spread of the cancer to brain and bone by more than 60%.
This is still very early-stage research, and we will need to see the results of human trials before we know whether this drug is effective for preventing or treating prostate cancer metastases in humans.