New options for prostate cancer made headlines this week with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the first new prostate cancer drug in four years and a journal report that a natural substance found in cough medicine might be an effective new treatment. According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the U.S. with about 200,000 men diagnosed annually and 30,000 men dying from the disease each year.
The new drug, called degarelix and developed by Ferring Pharmaceuticals (http://www.ferring.com), fights prostate cancer by lowering testosterone levels that promote the growth of tumors. The Associated Press announced that after treatment with degarelix patients had testosterone leves “comparable to those seen after the testes were removed.” http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gwgVQ_V0jjD63dDbI9jAojmLykcAD95CI8880
The journal Anticancer Research reported the findings of a new animal study that showed Noscapine may help treat advanced prostate cancer patients, according to Reuters Health (http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSTRE5012RX20090102). Noscapine, a non-addictive opium derivative found in some cough medicines, reduced tumor growth in mice by about 60 percent. Noscapine has already been studied as a possible treatment for colon, lung, breast, ovarian and brain cancer and for chronic lymphocytic leukemia and melanoma but this was the first study “to demonstrate its potential as a treatment for prostate cancer,” according to the Reuters report.
Smallcap companies involved in prostate cancer treatments include Endocare (Nasdaq: ENDO, http://www.endocare.com), AngioDynamics (Nasdaq: ANGO, http://www.angiodynamics.com), IsoRay (AMEX: ISR, http://www.isoray.com) and North American Scientific (Nasdaq: NASM, http://www.nasmedical.com).