Gene Therapy Hope in Prostate Cancer Fight

Article excerpt

Byline: GERAINT SMITH

BRITAIN's first clinical trial of gene therapy for prostate cancer, the disease forecast to become the biggest killer of men, is being launched today.

The trial, a collaboration between The Cancer Research Campaign and pharmaceutical company Cobra will test whether genetic engineering can turn prostate cancers into targets for anticancer drugs.

Scientists are hopeful the study will lead to treatments for prostate cancers that are currently incurable, such as those resistant to radiotherapy.

Professor Gordon McVie, director general of the Cancer Research Campaign, said: "Gene therapy has the potential to become one of the most exciting technologies available to cancer specialists. For the first time in the UK, this trial will determine whether it can be made to work for prostate cancer in the here and now."

The charity is due to make the announcement during the Third Global Conference for Cancer Organi-sations in Brighton today.

Researchers are to recruit up to 30 men with prostate cancer onto the initial phase of the trial, although more will join if the first phase is successful.

Dr Nick James, who is coordinating the trial, said: "We're keen that men with early-stage prostate cancer should put themselves forward for the trial, which could open up an entirely fresh approach to treating the disease. …