LONDON, May 1 (UPI) -- Scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research said they have discovered a class of drugs able to treat prostate cancer when conventional treatments fail.
According to a report from the institute, Hsp90 inhibitors are capable of targeting and disengaging active prostate cancer cells.
The finding, to be published in the journal Cancer Research, suggest the inhibitors and other similar indirect cancer treatments can destabilize several proteins needed for cancer cells to flourish.
"We call Hsp90 inhibitors 'network drugs' because they tackle several of the signals that are hijacked in cancer all at once, across a network rather than just a single signalling pathway," said study co-leader Paul Workman, chief executive of the Institute of Cancer Research in London.
"These drugs can hit cancer harder than those targeting only one protein, and look promising for preventing or overcoming drug resistance."
In order for a prostate tumor to grow, they use androgens -- a type of male hormone. The new drug is reportedly capable of blocking the cells' androgen receptors so they can be treated.
Co-leader Johann de Bono added: "We have demonstrated for the first time that Hsp90 inhibitors can block the production of the most common abnormal androgen receptors that cause many prostate cancers to stop responding to current treatments."
"These drugs are already in clinical trials for several types of cancer, and I'm excited that our work suggests they could also benefit men with prostate cancer who have otherwise run out of treatment options," he said.