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New Animal Model for Metastatic Prostate Cancer Developed

First Posted: Jan 25, 2014 11:28 PM EST

Statistics show that nearly 1 in 6 men will be affected by prostate cancer-the most common form of cancer for men. However, scientists from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have recently developed a new method to investigate the cause of this cancer by testing out therapeutic treatments on better mouse models.

Background information from the study notes that many mouse models often used for prostate cancer rarely develop tumors that metastasize-making it almost impossible to study the progression of the cancer. For the new mouse models, researchers generated metastases from primary prostate tumors. The mouse models, called RapidCaP, surgically deliver gene mutations that go directly into the prostate. A luminescent marker is also injected into the animals that helps scientists monitor the progression of the tumor, treat it and note disease relapse.

Researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute used the models to generate mice that developed metastases. However, a well-known driver of prostate cancer, PI 3-kinase, was absent from the metastasized tumors.

By exploring the metastases, researchers found that prostate tumors could be driven to metastasize simply by increasing the amount of Myc protein. Fortunately, scientists succeeded in shrinking cancer cells from Myc via the discovery and use of a new drug, called JQ1. This approached shows that the switch to Myc may be required in order to prevent further metastases of cancer cells throughout the body.

"The RapidCaP system has revealed a specific role for Myc as a druggable driver of metastasis in prostate cancer," said Trotman, via a press release. "So there's hope that our model provides a fast and faithful test-bed for developing new approaches to cure the type of prostate cancer that today is incurable."

More information regarding the study can be found via the journal Cancer Discovery.

 

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