At Johns Hopkins, new research into a molecule that targets specific proteins and makes tumors more sensitive to radiation therapy is being hailed a significant step in helping men with prostate cancer. A study published recently by the American Association for Cancer Research talks about the new efforts and what they could mean for patients.
The protein, RNA helices DDX3, which is instrumental in the growth of prostate cancer and is seen in high levels of men with the disease, is specifically targeted by the new drug. A molecule known as RK-33 disrupts the activity of DDX3 and slows the spread of cancerous cells as well as shutting down cell development in the early stages. In addition to shutting down the cellular action of prostate cancer cells, the RK-33 molecule acted as a "radio sensitizer" which make tumors more susceptible to the radiation therapy, which in turn made the therapy more effective.