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Something Old to Something New

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Researchers at Queen's University in Ontario are testing an old heart drug to treat prostate cancer, according to a press release from Parteq Innovations, the university's not-for-profit technology transfer office. The Phase II clinical trial will test the effectiveness of nitroglycerin on prostate tumors. It builds on previous work done by Queen's University researchers that shows that nitric-oxide-mimicking agents like nitroglycerin are effective in aiding the body's immune system to attack cancer cells, Parteq says. "In 2009 the researchers conducted the world's first-ever clinical trial using low doses of nitroglycerin to treat prostate cancer," the press release adds. "Results of that small study showed that the use of nitroglycerin significantly slowed the progression of the disease in men with recurrence after their original treatment."

In more recent work, the researchers determined that low doses of the heart medication inhibit an enzyme produced by cancer cells that make them resistant to immune attacks. "This new study will test the therapeutic benefits of low-dose nitroglycerin on men with early, recurrent prostate cancer. The one-year trial, using a noninvasive skin patch, aims to enroll 60 patients, who will be randomly selected to be treated with either the drug or a placebo," Parteq says.

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