Queensland University of Technology (QUT) prostate cancer researchers have found that a new vitamin E treatment could significantly reduce tumour regrowth.
Dr Patrick Ling, whose research will be a centrepiece of the new 354 million dollars Translational Research Institute (TRI) when it opens in Brisbane, is leading a team of researchers who have identified a particular constituent of vitamin E, known as tocotrienol (T3), which can inhibit the growth of prostate tumours.
Construction of TRI has officially began (October 19) at the Princess Alexandra Hospital.
Dr Ling said existing chemotherapy and hormonal therapy treatment of prostate cancer was insufficient because it failed to kill off the prostate cancer stem cells (CSCs), which were believed to be responsible for the regrowth of tumours.
However, the research team have discovered a particular form of T3, called gamma-tocotrienol (?-T3), can successfully kill off the prostate cancer CSCs.
"Currently there is no effective treatment for metastatic prostate cancer, because it grows back after conventional therapies in more than 70 per cent of cases," he said.
"But with ?-T3, QUT researchers have found a better way to treat prostate cancer, which has the potential to inhibit recurrence of the disease."
Dr Ling said in animal trials, ?-T3 completely inhibited tumour formation in more than 70 per cent of the mice implanted with prostate cancer cells and fed the vitamin E constituent in water. In the remaining cases, tumour regrowth was considerably reduced, while tumours reformed in 100 per cent of the control group.
Dr Ling said while not all vitamin E preparations had the active constituent, natural vitamin E obtained from palm oil was rich in ?-T3.
The findings have been published in the International Journal of Cancer.