American Association for Cancer Research

AACR Press Releases

"Smart Bomb" Drug Delivery May Increase Effectiveness


April 21, 2009

DENVER - Researchers may have found a way to combine imaging with chemotherapy in a single agent for the treatment of prostate cancer, according to data presented at the American Association for Cancer Research 100th Annual Meeting 2009.

"It's like a smart bomb, to use a military analogy," said John P. Sedelaar, Ph.D., M.D., a postdoctoral research fellow at Johns Hopkins University. "By retooling chemotherapy agents, we may be able to get more accurate treatment monitoring and follow-up."

Sedelaar said current clinical practice uses multimodality MRI to examine the urological system for diagnosing prostate cancer. This tool, however, is mostly thought of as a prostate imaging method, rather than a prostate cancer imaging method.

"An increasing number of patients have minimal prostate cancer, and opt for either very focused treatment or the watchful waiting approach," said Sedelaar. "In this environment, the need for an accurate imaging tool is paramount."

Sedelaar and colleagues designed two imaging drugs: a PSMA and a PSA-activated pro-drug. These agents are therapeutic drugs that are modified by adding a tyrosine ring for imaging.

Following administration into laboratory mice, researchers noted a measureable reduction in prostate cancer cells.

Experiments also showed that the imaging pro-drugs were cleaved and activated by PSMA or PSA, suggesting their viability as a prostate cancer imaging modality.

"Unfortunately, next to clear tumor uptake there was also uptake into liver and kidney organs. Further experiments will have to address that problem," said Sedelaar.

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The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, AACR is the world's oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes more than 28,000 basic, translational and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and nearly 90 other countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts more than 17,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment and patient care. The AACR publishes six major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; and Cancer Prevention Research. The AACR also publishes CR, a magazine for cancer survivors and their families, patient advocates, physicians and scientists. CR provides a forum for sharing essential, evidence-based information and perspectives on progress in cancer research, survivorship and advocacy.

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