23 Jul 2008

Early days for prostate cancer drug - reseacher

7:21 am on 23 July 2008

Medical researchers in Britain have announced a major breakthrough in the treatment of prostate cancer in men.

However, another cancer researcher says it's still early days.

The Royal Marsden Hospital in London says tests of a new drug - abiraterone - have proved effective in shrinking tumours in nearly 80% of patients. Doctors are hailing it as the most significant step in cancer research of over 70 years.

However, Dr Kat Arny from Cancer Research UK told Morning Report that only 21 people have taken part in a trial and a larger scale trial is being planned.

She said the drug blocks the production of the male sex hormone testosterone which actually fuels the growth of prostate cancer cells.

About 700,000 men worldwide are diagnosed with the cancer every year.

Dr Arny also said it's possible the drug could also be used to treat breast cancer.