Finding out how non-tumour cells control prostate cancer growth

Queen's Institute for Medical Research, University of EdinburghDr Axel Thomson£145,7382008 - 2011

Why we funded it

Dr Thomson is looking at prostate cancer in a radically new way. His approach will hopefully provide a more complete understanding of the control of prostate cancer cells and generate new ideas and opportunities for new diagnostic and therapeutic interventions.

Scientific Title: Analysis of stromal signaling pathways in human prostate cancer initiation and progression.

Research Project Summary

The prostate is mostly made up of two types of cells - epithelial cells and stromal cells. Prostate epithelial cells are associated with the function of the prostate and can turn cancerous. Prostate stromal cells help hold the structure of the prostate together and do not usually grow into tumours. Dr Thomson's previous work suggests that the stromal cells may be important in the development of prostate cancer. His team thinks that the stromal cells can help cancerous epithelial cells to grow and multiply. The stromal cells may even be able to turn normal cells cancerous. To date there has been very little research in this area. Dr Thomson intends to investigate this new field in detail using a new experimental system he has developed. His team is able to extract stromal cells from small prostate tumour samples and add them to laboratory grown prostate epithelial cells. This allows the team to study the effects these stromal cells have on the epithelial cells.