Starving Out the Enemy in the Treatment of Prostate Cancer


A famous, old military tactic “Starving Out the Enemy” is now being utilized in the context of prostate cancer research and treatment.  The main idea behind the research and possible treatment is to starve out the enemy by which the enemy will either submit or die eventually.  In the race of finding viable treatments for prostate cancer, starving out the hostile cancer cells is seemingly effective.

Professor Matthew Watt, the Metabolic Biologist at the University of Melbourne, has teamed up with Professor Renea Taylor (Assistant Professor & Cancer Biologist at the Monash University Biomedicine Discovery Institute BDI).  The team has come together for understanding the growth of cancer, what actually the cancer cells feed on, and how it is possible to deny the supply of resources to the cells towards improving the overall treatment of the tumor.


Professor Matthew Watt is also the Head of the Department of Physiology at the University of Melbourne and states that the team had chosen prostate cancer for the study several years ago.  Professor Watt adds, “Prostate cancer turns out to be the most diagnosed forms of cancer in men out there.  Moreover, it is also the 2nd leading cause of death in men all around.  In the modern era, it has become quite common to observe younger men falling prey to prostate cancer more than before.  As such, we wish to explore the main reason behind this occurrence.”

In the given study, samples of normal tissue and prostate cancer tissues were taken from the patients.  The two types of tissues –normal and malignant (cancerous) tissues were examined in the study for observing the specific type of “fuel” they utilized.  In the first experiment, it was observed that fatty acids were taken up by prostate cancer cells and led to an increase in tumor growth.  Quite contrary to the same, it was observed that normal tissues tend to prefer making use of the sugar glucose as the energy fuel for growth.

By understanding more about the integral function of the transporter in the growth of prostate cancer, the team of researchers, later on, turned its focus to unveiling how the potential therapy can work by stopping the functioning of the same.  The results of the study have proven quite promising.  The ultimate goal of the study is to combine the fatty acid therapy along with existing therapies including chemotherapy for killing the cancer cells and reducing the overall side effects.