Prostate cancer develops when prostate cells grow uncontrollably. The growth of the prostate is dependent on hormones (androgens) which stimulate cell growth through binding to a corresponding receptor, called the androgen receptor. Initial treatment strategies to lower androgen levels provide robust responses in 90% of cases; unfortunately, nearly all cases eventually develop resistance to such therapies.
One mechanism driving this progression is thought to be the presence of altered versions of the androgen receptor, called splice variants, which remain unaffected by current therapies. There are currently no treatment strategies that target these androgen receptor splice variants. This project will identify proteins that bind to these altered versions of the androgen receptor, and investigate whether blocking the activity of these proteins could hinder cancer growth. It may then be possible to develop new drugs which target these proteins, creating a new treatment option for men who have developed resistance to existing hormone therapies.
Reference - AMS15-001
Researcher - Dr Adam Sharp
Institution - Institute of Cancer Research
Award - £30,000