Health Discoveries in Prostate Cancer

Immunity research on prostate cancer targets gene

March 28, 2011
A prostate cancer study by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has found that the gene FOXO3 affects the immune response in cancer cells and can be targeted to fight the disease.

Published online in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the study focused on laboratory tests involving tumor-related dendritic cells that had high levels of FOXO3 and could not activate cancer-fighting T cells. Under some conditions, the researchers found that eliminating such dendritic cells shrunk the size of tumors.

"Our research suggests that it may be possible to boost immune responses to tumors and prevent immune suppression if we target FOXO3, either directly or with prostate and other cancer vaccines," said Arthur A. Hurwitz, head of NCI's Tumor Immunity and Tolerance Section. "This might be achieved by using small molecule drugs or peptides that target FOXO3 in dendritic cells or by silencing FOXO3 expression in dendritic cell vaccines that already exist, making them more potent."

A prostate cancer clinical trial under way within the North Shore-LIJ Health System is comparing the effect of giving higher daily doses of radiation (28 treatments for about five weeks) instead of the standard radiation therapy of 41 treatments over eight weeks.
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