Bacteria that live on the ocean floor has been found to cure half of all male prostate cancer sufferers in an experiment and could replace invasive surgery.
A non-surgical treatment involved injecting a light-sensitive drug into the bloodsteam, which was then activated with a laser to destroy tumour tissue in the prostate.
The drug, derived from bacteria at the bottom of the ocean, was used to treat 413 patients with low-risk prostate cancer, with 49 per cent of them going into remission.
University College London dean of medical sciences Professor Mark Emberton, who led the research, described it as a major breakthrough that could spare prostate cancer sufferers from invasive surgery to remove their prostate.
That finding would have been a help to Australian men who have undergone surgery to remove their prostate, including Sydney broadcaster Alan Jones and former deputy prime minister Wayne Swan.
'These results are excellent news for men with early localised prostate cancer, offering a treatment that can kill cancer without removing or destroying the prostate,' Professor Emberton told his university journal.