A new drug called abiraterone may prove to be a breakthrough treatment for aggressive prostate cancer. Scientists say the drug -- which blocks hormones that fuel the cancer -- could potentially treat up to 80 percent of patients with a deadly form of the disease that's resistant to chemotherapy, BBC News reported.
A study of 21 patients with advanced, aggressive prostate cancer treated with the drug found significant tumor shrinkage and a decline in levels of a key protein produced by the cancer. Many patients reported a significant improvement in their quality of life, and some were able to stop taking morphine to ease the pain caused by the spread of the cancer into their bones.
The findings appear in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
"We believe we have made a major step forward in the treatment of end-stage prostate cancer patients," according to lead researcher Dr. Johann de Bono, who was quoted by BBC News.
"These men have very aggressive prostate cancer which is exceptionally difficult to treat and almost always proves fatal. We hope that abiraterone will eventually offer them real hope of an effective way of managing their condition and prolonging their lives," de Bono said.
Currently, the drug is being assessed in an advanced clinical trial involving 1,200 patients around the world, BBC News reported.