Researchers at the University of Missouri have announced that they have developed a new treatment against aggressive forms of prostate cancer that uses green tea and gold nanoparticles.
Presently, prostate cancer – and most cancers – is predominantly treated through chemotherapy. The large doses harm the tumor, but also harm vital organs and provide horrible side effects. The treatment devised by the University of Missouri scientists will require much smaller doses, and do not appear to affect healthy organs.
Scientists’ research led them to discover that a compound in tea is attracted to prostate tumor cells. When combined with radioactive gold nanoparticles, the tea helped to deliver the particles to the tumor site, where the nanoparticles destroyed the tumors effectively.
Presently, prostate cancer is treated by injecting hundreds of radioactive “seeds” into the body. That treatment is rather ineffective when combating particularly aggressive forms of prostate cancer, however, due to the size of the seeds. If they are too small, they will leave the site and spread to other parts of the body.
In the University of Missouri study, the gold nanoparticles are just the right size to combat the aggressive prostate cancer. The study also only required only a couple of injections of the particles, which were likely to stay at the tumor site. And in the nanoparticles, with a half-life of 2.7 days, the radioactivity disappears within three weeks.
The study was conducted on mice. Before new studies can be started on humans, dogs will be tested next. In dogs, the form of prostate cancer is similar to the form in human beings.
Researchers are hopeful that the innovative treatment will help shrink both aggressive and slow-growing prostate cancer tumors, or eliminate them altogether.