Genetic ‘handbrake’ could be key to stopping prostate cancer growth

A genetic “handbrake” that stops cells growing out of control could be the key to unlocking new treatments for , scientists say. The disease can trick cells into ignoring crucial instructions that normally prevent abnormal growth.

Prostate Cancer UK is investing £271,000 into research that will investigate ways to put the brakes back on.

Study leader Dr Corinne Woodcock, of the University of Nottingham, said: “My work is looking at how to reactivate these handbrakes, known as tumour suppressors, with the aim to slow or stop the spread of prostate cancer.

“We are investigating the mechanism behind a drug that is currently being trialled in patients with other cancer types. If we can show its potential effectiveness in treating prostate cancer in the lab, then we could move from research into clinical trials sooner than usual.”

READ MORE: Charles ‘duped’ into making new Palace appointment during cancer treatment

More than 52,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year in the UK and it claims 12,000 lives annually.

Dr Woodcock lost her grandfather to the disease three years ago. Her research into the drug, STC-15, will involve laboratory testing using cell cultures and patient specimens.

The team will work closely with patients to design their experiments, with members often attending support groups and fundraisers in the local community.

Dr Woodcock added: “You need to involve the patients so that you fully understand their needs, so the questions that you’re addressing within your research and in the lab are the main challenges and issues that patients face.

“We know that prostate cancer is a global challenge and we are very lucky that the UK is leading in prostate cancer research.

“My hope is that it could open new avenues in the future for different treatment options to improve the lives of patients who are diagnosed with prostate cancer.

“It’s a privilege to receive this prestigious award from Prostate Cancer UK, and work alongside this global team of researchers and clinicians to understand this disease better.”

The research will also involve experts from the UK, US, Austria, Sweden and Belgium.

Simon Grieveson, assistant director of research at Prostate Cancer UK, said the charity was keen to support a Nottingham-based project as men in the Midlands tend to be diagnosed later than patients in other parts of the country such as London.

He added: “It is devastating when a man gets the news that his prostate cancer has spread and will be harder to treat.

“We’re excited to support Dr Woodcock’s innovative research, which aims to disrupt the key processes that help prostate cancer to grow and spread.

“What is more, as this treatment is already being tested in patients, this research has the potential to rapidly advance into clinical trials for prostate cancer, meaning that men could start to benefit much sooner from this novel treatment.”

Source link