A DRUG used to treat HIV infection can slow the spread of prostate cancer, research has shown.
Scientists hope the compound, or others like it, may help men live longer with the disease that claims around 10,000 lives in the UK each year.
Early studies have demonstrated the antiretroviral drug maraviroc can dramatically curb the lethal spread of prostate cancer in mice.
Prostate cancer most commonly travels to the bones, leading to severe pain, disability and eventual death.
But treatment with maraviroc reduced the spread, or metastasis, of prostate tumours to the bones, brain and other organs by 60% in mice.
US lead scientist Dr Richard Pestell, from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, said: “Because the drug is already approved for HIV treatment, we may be able to test soon whether this drug can block metastasis in patients with prostate cancer.”
The drug targets a protein molecule on the surface of cells called the CCR5 receptor which the Aids virus HIV uses to invade white blood cells.
The study is published online in the journal Cancer Research.
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To investigate further, the scientists used maraviroc to block CCR5 in mice with metastatic prostate cancer. They found that compared with sick mice not given the drug, overall cancer spread was cut by 60%.
Meanwhile, it was announced last night that Prince Harry is set to reveal one of his secrets today as part of a campaign to help reduce stigma associated with HIV.
The royal will be joined by stars including Nicole Scherzinger, Gemma Arterton and Paloma Faith, who will all lay their secrets bare to the world on video in support of a #FeelNoShame campaign for World Aids Day today.
Harry travelled around Lesotho in 2004 and saw for himself the problems faced by Aids orphans, disabled children and others with serious issues.
He said: “To show our support for the children of Lesotho, and help reduce the stigma for all those affected by HIV, we are turning this World Aids Day into a day in which no-one should feel any shame about their secrets.
“Together, we can tackle the stigma surrounding HIV and give the young people carrying it the childhood they deserve. The childhood so many of us take for granted.”
Sharing secrets from worst fears to guilty pleasures, Harry and the A-List line-up hope to raise awareness of the stigma and shame which prevents HIV sufferers worldwide from speaking up and seeking support.
The 30-year-old said: “Globally, HIV is the second-highest cause of death amongst those aged 10-19 years old, and it is the number-one cause of death across Africa.
“One tragic issue in particular is the shame and stigma linked to HIV.
“This causes thousands of children to needlessly die each year because they’re keeping their illness a secret and not getting the medical attention they need.”
Harry launched the campaign himself at midnight, releasing a video from a microsite – FeelNoShame.Today – asking the public to share their own secrets via social media in exchange for his.
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