A breakthrough in prostate cancer treatment is on the cards with the discovery of a protein that inhibits androgen receptors that are central to the cancer's development.
Researchers at the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) have found that ssarestin2 protein is present in lower amounts in prostate cancer cells.
In a report published recently in the National Academy of Sciences Online Early Edition, the study identified the fact that androgen receptors, which are fuelled by testosterone, exist in higher numbers in prostate cancer cells.
This suggests the presence of the protein may be instrumental in halting the damaging work of the receptors.
Dr Yehia Daaka, distinguished chair in Oncologic Pathology in the MCG School of Medicine, commented: "An increase in the number of androgen receptors is believed responsible for prostate cancer progression in men with advanced disease."
He added that the androgen receptor is particularly significant in the onset and rapid progression of the disease, which makes the cancer extremely difficult to treat when it is at this stage.
Prostate cancer occurs in the gland of the male reproductive organ.