Screening for novel factors in the prostate cancer response to hormones

University of CambridgeProfessor David Neal£26,0002009 - 2010

Why we funded it

A better understanding of how the AR works could reveal how prostate cancer becomes hormone resistant, identify potential biomarkers and also potential molecular targets for new treatments.


Scientific title

Novel proteomic approach combined with an RNAi screen to identify AR co-factors.


Research project summary

This project will assess the importance of novel factors involved in prostate cancer response to hormones (i.e. testosterone); the team plan to perform an unbiased screen based on the findings of a newly developed method.

Androgen ablation therapy is an effective first line treatment for advanced prostate cancer; however, relapse is common and associated with resistance to therapy. It has been shown that androgen receptor (AR) remains important in drug resistant prostate cancer. Therefore, a better understanding of how the AR works could reveal mechanisms of drug resistance, potential biomarkers and also potential therapeutic targets for treatment of men with drug resistant prostate cancer.

The research team will use lab-grown prostate cancer cells which are resistant, and also cells which are sensitive (non-resistant), to androgen ablation therapy. They will use a technique called RNA interference to test the interaction between specific molecules in these cells and their effects on androgen signalling. The effects will be assessed by measuring the growth rates of the resistant and non-resistant prostate cancer cells and also by testing the effects on levels of certain prostate cancer markers including PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen).

The study will provide a better understanding of how androgens promote prostate cancer, the factors involved and the potential mechanisms of resistance to androgen deprivation therapy. The researchers aim to identify unique molecules and pathways in the cancer cells that could in future be used to develop diagnostic tests and/or new treatments for prostate cancer.