DALLAS, May 30 (UPI) -- A novel class of drugs interrupts critical signaling needed for prostate cancer cells to grow, U.S. researchers say.
Senior author Dr. Ganesh Raj, associate professor of urology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and colleagues found they could disrupt androgen receptor signaling using a novel class of drugs called peptidomimetics.
This therapeutic agent consists of an engineered small protein-like chain designed to mimic peptides that are critical for androgen receptor function.
The peptidomimetic agents block the activity of the androgen receptor even in the presence of androgen by attacking the protein in a different spot from where the androgen binds, Raj said.
"We are hopeful that this novel class of drugs will shut down androgen receptor signaling and lead to added options and increased longevity for men with advanced prostate cancer," Raj said in a statement.
Raj compared the action to a lock and key. In prostate cancer, the androgen receptor -- lock -- is activated by the androgen -- key -- resulting in a signal that causes prostate cancer proliferation.
The findings were published online in Nature Communications.