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Developing new prostate cancer treatments

  • Researcher: Dr Jeremy Jones
  • Institution: Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope
  • Award Amount: £199,438 for 3 years from June 2013
  • Cancer Type: Prostate Cancer
Developing new prostate cancer treatments
Prostate cancer cells normally only grow and divide in the presence of the male sex hormone androgen.  Androgen switches on a molecule called the androgen receptor when the two stick together, like a key in a lock opening a door. The main drug treatments for prostate cancer work by either competing with the androgens to stick on to the androgen receptor, like the wrong key blocking the lock, or they prevent androgen being made, like preventing the manufacture of the key.  However, in advanced prostate cancer the cells become able to multiply without androgens, meaning the drugs no longer work and it is incurable.  The lock is broken so the door can be opened without any level of control.  Therefore new drugs that switch off the androgen receptor and keep the door shut in a different way are needed.Dr Jones and his team have recently found a chemical that can stop the androgen receptor from being switched on.  Instead of working like traditional treatments, this chemical stops the androgen receptor in a unique way – like adding a Yale lock. 

The team are using their Worldwide Cancer Research grant to firstly determine exactly how this chemical is working.  This will include pinpointing exactly where it is sticking to, what other molecules are involved and how effective it could be when given in small amounts.  This is an exciting project that, if successful, holds great promise for future prostate cancer patients who have become resistant to current treatments.
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