Prostate cancer affects about one in eight men each year, and is one of the most common types of cancer in men). Researchers have been studying novel therapeutic approaches for years. And when it comes to studying prostate cancer drugs (and, in fact, many drugs) mice are usually the go to for testing. However, mice and humans have so many differences that it’s often been hard to take findings from mice studies and translate them into meaningful insight for human treatment.
To overcome this hurdle, researchers turned to man’s best friend, which has proven beneficial in understanding prostate cancer treatment.
According to a new study published in Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer, researchers outline experiments testing a potential prostate cancer drug candidate (mogamulizumab) on dogs, with hopeful results.
The drug in question, mogamulizumab, is an antibody drug designed to block the CCR4 receptor, which researchers believe may play a role in regulating the activity of “Tregs,” or regulatory T cells. The hypothesis is that Tregs hamper the immune system’s ability to identify and attack prostate tumor cells. Tregs do play an important role in the body by helping the immune system differentiate good and bad cells to prevent harm to the body. But some types of cancer cells can cloak themselves from Treg cells, usually signaled by a buildup of Tregs around tumors.
Researchers chose to study mogamulizumab in dogs for several reasons, not least of which is the fact that prostate cancer in both humans and dogs presents with very similar clinical characteristics (such as onset in older age). It’s also a cancer that happens frequently in both species. Taken together, dogs could provide an alternative way to study prostate cancer drugs compared to mice studies. Researchers hope that what they learn working with dogs may offer more meaningful insight into how drugs could work in humans.
The study in ImmunoTherapy reports on a preclinical trial of mogamulizumab in dogs with a control group. Results were promising, with dogs receiving mogamulizumab showing a decreased amount of Tregs circulating near tumors and increased survival rates. Researchers hope to begin clinical trials in humans soon.