Glasgow & Aberdeen researchers receive major prostate cancer funding boost

Research into prostate cancer receives a major boost today (24th January) as The Prostate Cancer Charity announces its largest research investment into the disease to date.

Researchers from the Universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen will lead on three of the 15 projects from across the UK to be funded by The Prostate Cancer Charity. The Charity is investing over £2 million in an attempt to target some of the most important research challenges facing prostate cancer, from helping to diagnose the disease through to improving treatment options and quality of life for men living with it.

Speaking about the landmark investment Owen Sharp, Chief Executive of The Prostate Cancer Charity, said: “Despite being the most common cancer in men the research evidence surrounding prostate cancer is limited. The Charity’s new research portfolio underlines our commitment to finding answers to this often complex and confusing disease.

“Over the past three years the Charity has more than trebled its investment in research whilst government funded research into the disease continues to lag behind that of other common cancers. Through our research portfolio we are proud to be working alongside some of the UK’s top scientists to balance out this inequality and tackle some of the critical gaps in knowledge surrounding the disease to ensure men and their families get the answers they need.”

In addition to pumping over £360,000 into two projects at the University of Glasgow and one at the University of Aberdeen The Prostate Cancer Charity is funding research at - amongst other institutions - Cambridge University, Imperial College London, Kings College London and the Institute of Cancer Research.

Professor Iain McEwan from the University of Aberdeen has received £81,634 for a 3 year PhD study to identify new drugs for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer. He said: “Men with advanced prostate cancer have limited treatment options, further hampered by prostate cancer’s ability to develop resistance to standard treatments. There is a clear need to invest in research to focus on new ways to control and treat advanced prostate cancer, and this funding from The Prostate Cancer Charity will allow us to focus our attention on testing a new approach for developing drugs to block the activity of a protein called the androgen receptor.”

Dr Joanna Edwards from the University of Glasgow’s Beatson Institute has received £130,220 for a 2 year study into what makes men with prostate cancer stop responding to therapy. She said: “This funding is a fantastic boost and will hopefully further our understanding of why prostate cancer therapy begins to fail, at which point the disease progresses more quickly and survival is reduced. If we can establish the cause of treatment failure, and identify novel proteins within prostate cancer cells, we will be better placed to develop new drugs to act against the disease.”

Professor Hing Leung from the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, University of Glasgow and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has received £150,812 for a 3 year project to identify how certain molecules promote the growth of prostate cancer. He said: “This project will use human prostate cancer samples to study the activity of the molecules Sprouty2 and PI3/AKT in prostate cancer. The aim is to develop targeted and individual treatment plans for men using these two molecules by understanding how they work together to drive aggressive prostate cancer, and their role in cancer developing resistance to standard treatments. Better understanding of lethal prostate cancer, particularly in relationship to cancer spread and drug-resistance, is key to future development of effective drugs aimed at improving patient outcome.”

The fifteen grants were awarded via a competitive process of peer review and chosen on the basis of their extremely high quality and relevance to men with prostate cancer.

The Prostate Cancer Charity has a strong history of supporting the delivery of world class research and has invested over £12 million to date.