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New prostate cancer target proposed

May 20, 2010 at 5:37 PM   |   Comments

ANN ARBOR, Mich., May 20 (UPI) -- A University of Michigan study suggests prostate cancer treatments that target the hormone androgen and its receptor might be going after the wrong target.

Researchers at the university's Comprehensive Cancer Center said they've discovered when two genes fuse together to cause prostate cancer, it blocks the receptor for the hormone androgen, preventing prostate cells from developing normally. That, said the scientists, suggests gene fusion -- not the androgen receptor -- is a more specific "bad actor" in prostate cancer and is the real smoking gun that should be targeted by treatments.

"We need to begin to think about targeting prostate cancer by targeting the gene fusion, and not confining our approaches to androgen receptor," said Dr. Arul Chinnaiyan, who led the research.

The study is featured as the cover story of the May 18 issue of the journal Cancer Cell.

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