A new type of drug could be used to treat thousands of cancer patients after experts found it can be used on different types of the disease.
The research, published in the EMBO Molecular Medicine journal, concludes that the drug - known as a PARP inhibitor - is showing "positive signs" in the treatment of breast and ovarian cancer, caused by the faulty BRCA gene.
Scientists now believe the drug could also kill cancers caused by the faulty PTEN gene, including prostate, skin (melanoma), womb and colon cancers. Research shows that the cancer cells are 25 times more sensitive to PARP inhibitors than cells with a normal PTEN gene.
Professor Alan Ashworth, director of the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre at the Institute of Cancer Research, hailed the results of the study as "exciting".
He said: "These results are exciting because they show that PARP inhibitors are potentially a powerful targeted treatment with few side-effects which may help a broad range of cancer patients."
Prof Ashworth added that tests need to be carried out on a "much larger group of patients with PTEN-related tumours".
"From all the reports on this drug, this sounds too good to be true. I mentioned this to my doctor and he said this was not available to public since it is still in the trial period. If so good, then why isn't the public privy to it. We need it!!!" - Mary, USA