An exciting new research project aimed at dramatically improving
the effectiveness of radiotherapy treatment for men affected by
prostate cancer is taking place at Queen's University Belfast.
New and improved treatments are desperately needed for men with
advanced prostate cancer, it is hoped that the three year project
will identify a new approach using radiotherapy - a commonly used
treatment - to treat the disease more effectively.
Funded by a £99,273 PhD research grant awarded by The Prostate
Cancer Charity, this innovative project will first seek to
understand how a man's prostate cancer becomes resistant to
radiotherapy. Following this, the researchers will test a
combination of existing drug treatments alongside radiotherapy to
overcome this resistance. It is hoped that the cancer will become
more sensitive to radiotherapy and thereby improve the success of
the treatment to stop the disease in its tracks.
Lead researcher at Queen's University Belfast's Centre for
Cancer Research and Cell Biology, Professor of Radiation Biology
Kevin Prise, said: "The use of radiotherapy to treat prostate
cancer is currently restricted by the cancer's ability to develop
resistance to the treatment. Drugs exist which can help to
'sensitise' the cancer cells to radiotherapy, and in this study we
will use these drugs in combination with radiotherapy to try
and improve the success of prostate cancer treatment using
techniques that are already available."
The grant has been awarded, as part of The Prostate Cancer
Charity's ongoing programme of investment in research to help
tackle this disease. This year, the Charity has awarded over £2
million - its largest research investment to date - to institutions
across the UK to improve the diagnosis and treatment of prostate
Dr Kate Holmes, Research Manager at The Prostate Cancer Charity
said: "Radiotherapy has been used for a number of years to treat
prostate cancer. However, in some cases the tumour develops
resistance and does not respond well to this treatment. We hope
that this new research will be able to improve the success of
radiotherapy, so that it can be used to kill more cancer cells and
further delay the spread of the disease in many more men. We are
looking forward to working closely with the team and eagerly await
the results of the study."