Of mice and men all over again …


Yet another set of researchers have found yet another possible new drug that seems to have significant activity in management of prostate cancer — in mice! Whether it will have activity in men is a whole other question.

Al-Azayzih et al. have reported that a liposomal formulation of a small protein called IPA-3 can be used to inhibit the activity of a second protein (called PAK-10 which is involved in the development of highly invasive prostate cancer cells. A media release is also available on the University of Georgia’s news site.

According to one of the study’s authors:

PAK-1 is kind of like an on/off switch. When it turns on, it makes cancerous cells turn into metastatic cells that spread throughout the body.

The liposomal “packaging” of the IPA-3 molecule slows down the rate of its metabolism in the body, making it possible to give the drug to mice just twice each week. But while the authors describe their preliminary data as “promising”, experienced readers of this site will be aware that drugs that work in mice are a lot easier to create and test than drugs that may work in man. We shall have to wait to see if it is possible to get this drug into clinical trials in humans … and then we will begin to see whether it might have some real utility in the treatment of prostate cancer.

4 Responses

  1. I don’t mean to rain on the parade, but your caveat about mice and men is certainly on target and reminded me of a time I worked in the pharma industry in the late 1980s when we had an invited speaker come and talk to us about using monoclonal antibodies to treat cancer, showing slides of mice that were truly cured. One of our scientists commented, “Yes, we have cured cancer in many thousands of mice, but have yet to transition those treatment successes to people.”

  2. So here is an idea. … I am guessing that all these cancers that were cured in mice were also induced in the mice by scientists. So, makes me wonder that if they ever found a mouse that had cancer naturally occurring if these cures would have come close to working?

    How long will it take them to realize that maybe mice are not the best model to test on. Seems like a lot of time is/has been wasted on a testing model that may not be the correct one. How about monkeys?

  3. Dear Chris:

    (1) No mouse has ever naturally got human prostate cancer.

    (2) The testing that is done in mice is a very preliminary form of testing, and (in general terms) is relatively low cost. It’s not the testing that is the problem. The testing is a necessary fist stage in demonstrating that you can give a new drug to a living animal and see the type of effect that you are expecting. It is the “hyping” of the results that can give people the wrong impression that is the problem.

  4. There are many who find more IPA very appealing …. whether 1, 2, 3 or Lagunitas!! ;<))

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