Revolutionary ‘magic bullet’ for prostate cancer: Treatment cured the disease in patients given just weeks to live

  • Six out of 10 patients are is remission one year after undergoing the treatment
  • Therapy uses a molecule that attaches to tumours and destroys them
  • Researchers believe the treatment has potential in brain and kidney cancers
  • Prostate cancer affects around 47,000 new men every year in the UK 
  • The disease kills approximately 19 men per 100,000 annually in the US
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A revolutionary ‘magic bullet’ that kills prostate tumour cells has cured patients given just weeks to live.

Six out of 10 patients with an advanced form of the disease are in remission one year after undergoing the treatment, a Cypriot study found.

The therapy uses a molecule that attaches itself to prostate tumour cells before releasing energy that destroys the cancer.   

Researchers believe the ‘amazing’ treatment could have potential in others forms of cancer including brain, thyroid and kidney. 

Prostate cancer affects around 47,000 new men every year in the UK. The disease kills approximately 19 men per 100,000 annually in the US.

‘Magic bullet’ that kills prostate tumours has cured patients given just weeks to live (stock)

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How does the treatment work? 

The new treatment use chemically-engineered molecules known as prostate specific membrane antigens.

These molecules, described as a ‘trojan horse’, ‘trick’ their way inside cancer cells.

Once in the cells, the molecule release nuclear energy, which destroys tumours.

The researchers carried out the trial on 30 men with prostate cancer that had spread, giving them just weeks or months to live. 

Six out of 10 patients with an advanced form of the disease are in remission (stock)

‘The results are amazing’ 

Lead author Professor Giovanni Paganelli, from the European Institute of Oncology, said: ‘This is a great achievement and the results are amazing.

‘This is true, targeted medicine, non-toxic and effective. 

‘If it works in late-stage disease it is likely to work better at an earlier stage and this is the direction we now want to take.’ 

Speaking of the treatment’s lack of side effects, he added: ‘People have been afraid of the nuclear element of this form of treatment but we have shown it is safe. 

‘It is a tiny amount of nuclear energy that is delivered to the cells and is not enough to cause severe side effects,’ he said. 

The findings were presented at the at the International Conference of Clinical Oncology in Paralimni, Cyprus, on Wednesday. 


How many people does it kill?

Prostate cancer became a bigger killer than breast cancer for the first time, official statistics revealed earlier this year. 

More than 11,800 men a year – or one every 45 minutes – are now killed by the disease in Britain, compared with about 11,400 women dying of breast cancer.

It means prostate cancer is behind only lung and bowel in terms of how many people it kills in Britain. In the US, the disease kills 26,000 each year.

Despite this, it receives less than half the research funding of breast cancer – while treatments for the disease are trailing at least a decade behind.

How quickly does it develop? 

Prostate cancer usually develops slowly, so there may be no signs someone has it for many years, according to the NHS. 

If the cancer is at an early stage and not causing symptoms, a policy of ‘watchful waiting’ or ‘active surveillance’ may be adopted. 

Some patients can be cured if the disease is treated in the early stages.

But if it diagnosed at a later stage, when it has spread, then it becomes terminal and treatment revolves around relieving symptoms.

Thousands of men are put off seeking a diagnosis because of the known side effects from treatment, including erectile dysfunction.

Tests and treatment

Tests for prostate cancer are haphazard, with accurate tools only just beginning to emerge. 

There is no national prostate screening programme as for years the tests have been too inaccurate.

Doctors struggle to distinguish between aggressive and less serious tumours, making it hard to decide on treatment.

Men over 50 are eligible for a ‘PSA’ blood test which gives doctors a rough idea of whether a patient is at risk.

But it is unreliable. Patients who get a positive result are usually given a biopsy which is also not foolproof. 

Scientists are unsure as to what causes prostate cancer, but age, obesity and a lack of exercise are known risks. 

Anyone with any concerns can speak to Prostate Cancer UK’s specialist nurses on 0800 074 8383 or visit

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