From a pioneering new drug about to hit clinical trials, to a revolutionary home urine test for prostate cancer, here's the projects we're funding in this round of Research Innovation Awards.

20 Feb 2020

To stop prostate cancer limiting lives we need fresh ideas that undermine the disease progression from new angles. We need to give scientists the freedom to be inventive, to try ambitious projects that could mean big rewards for men. That's why our Research Innovation Awards are dedicated to funding ground-breaking research with potentially huge impact.

From a pioneering new drug about to hit clinical trials, to a revolutionary home urine test for prostate cancer, here are the projects you've helped to fund.

Over the past 25 years, Prostate Cancer UK has invested over £65 million in research, helping to kick start and accelerate some of the biggest breakthroughs in prostate cancer care. But, with news last month that prostate cancer has now overtaken breast cancer to become the most commonly diagnosed cancer in England, it’s clear there’s still more work to be done.

That’s why we’re delighted to announce we’re investing £2.8 million towards eight of the most ambitious and innovative research projects across the UK. Chosen for their game-changing potential, these outstanding projects were narrowed down from over 40 applications to receive funding as part of our annual Research Innovation Awards. Here's our summary:

A focus on advanced prostate cancer

From ground-breaking new drugs to cutting-edge scans, the majority of this year’s projects are focused on improving treatments for men with advanced prostate cancer.

“Over 11,500 men die each year from prostate cancer in the UK, all because their disease has developed into an advanced form that can’t be cured,” says Simon Grieveson, our Head of Research Funding.

“Unfortunately, there are limited ways to treat these men, particularly if the cancer becomes resistant to hormone therapies – the mainstay of treatment for advanced disease. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we’re delighted to fund research that could transform the landscape for these men, and move us one step closer to our aim of stopping prostate cancer from being a killer.”

Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we’re delighted to fund research that could transform the landscape for these men, and move us one step closer to our aim of stopping prostate cancer from being a killer.

- Simon Grieveson

 

The promise of precision medicine

What makes this year’s projects particularly exciting is their potential to take us from a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to treatment, to a more precise one. By working out which men are likely to benefit from particular treatments, and why, our researchers hope to give men and their doctors the information they need to make the best choices when it comes to managing prostate cancer.

Professor Colin Cooper, for example, is hoping to improve the accuracy of diagnosis to better inform who does or doesn’t require radical treatment. Thanks to previous funding from Movember, he’s developed a urine test to distinguish aggressive forms of prostate cancer from slow-growing ones. Colin is now validating the accuracy of this test in 450 men with prostate cancer as part of his Movember-Prostate Cancer UK Research Innovation Award.

“One of the biggest problems with diagnosing prostate cancer is that we currently can’t say for sure which cancers are aggressive and need immediate treatment, and which will never do any harm,” he says.

“That’s why we’re so excited about this test, which could give men and their doctors more certainty about the best course of treatment. It can even be taken at home, so men won’t need to visit the clinic, and could avoid an invasive biopsy.”

Leading the fight against treatment resistance

Overcoming the challenge of treatment resistance is another central theme of this year’s Research Innovation Awards. Whether that’s by spotting new targets for drug development, or testing new combinations of medicines, the majority of our researchers are searching for new ways to keep men responding to treatments for longer.

One of these projects, led by Professor Simon MacKay, has been ten years in the making. First supported by Prostate Cancer UK and Movember in 2012, he’s developed a pioneering new chemical which hits and disables a key driver of prostate cancer growth.

“We’re particularly excited about this potential treatment because it could stop prostate cancer from growing and becoming advanced, and also help men respond to treatments for longer without becoming resistant,” he says.

We’re now funding Professor MacKay to add the final touches to this chemical, transforming it into a drug which could have a life-changing impact on men who are running out of treatment options.

“Thanks to the funding from Prostate Cancer UK, we now have the chance to bring this treatment one step closer to clinical trials. After all this time, I’d be over the moon if I could make that difference to men affected by prostate cancer.”

The eight new projects we're funding in 2020

 

Help give men the future they deserve

None of this much-needed research would be possible without your generous donations. Thanks to you, we’re funding projects that are helping to transform the lives of thousands of men and their families.

But the reality is prostate cancer is still harming too many men, in exchange for too few cures. Only by continuing to fund the most innovative and impactful research can we create a future where lives are not limited by prostate cancer. And for that, we need your help.

Donate today to support our life-changing research, and help give men the future they deserve.

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