Cancer Breakthrough: New Treatment For Prostate Cancer Derives From Ocean Bacteria

First Posted: Dec 22, 2016 02:57 AM EST

A breakthrough for treating prostate cancer has been developed by scientists in the form of ocean bacteria that could kill the cancerous cells. The scientists have just finished clinical trials involving the new non-surgical treatment for prostate cancer.

The treatment is called vascular-targeted photodynamic therapy (VTP) that involves a drug known as WST11, which comes from the bacteria that live in the bottom of the ocean. It was developed by the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel and company STEBA Biotech. The clinical trials on prostate cancer patients were led by University College London, according to Medical Daily.

The process involves injecting WST11, which is a light-sensitive drug into the patient's blood. Then, a laser is used to activate the drug that kills the cancerous tissue. The bacteria could survive with low levels of sunlight by converting light into energy.

In the clinical trials tested across 10 European countries, about 49 percent of patients who were diagnosed with early prostate cancer treated with VTP had a complete remission, compared to 13.5 percent of men in the control group. Mark Emberton, the lead author of the study from the University College London, said that these results are excellent news for men with early localized prostate cancer, offering a treatment that can kill cancer without removing or destroying the prostate. He further said that this is truly a huge leap forward for prostate cancer treatment, which has previously lagged decades behind other solid cancers such as breast cancer.

Once the WST11 was injected into the blood stream, the optical fibers will be inserted into the prostate gland. When the light is turned on, the light beams will then activate the drug in the patient's blood. This caused it to release high-energy free radicals that destroy the tumor tissue and leave the surrounding tissue untouched. The findings of the study were reported in The Lancet Oncology, according to Science Alert.

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