Characterisation of a potential therapeutic target to treat advanced prostate cancer

In a nutshell

Investigating why resistance to hormone therapy occurs. By better understanding the process the researcher hopes to find new ways to treat advanced prostate cancer, or ways to make our current therapies work better.

Why we funded it

Once a cancer stops responding to hormone therapy it becomes very difficult to treat and therapies are aimed at controlling the cancer rather than providing a cure. We need to learn more about why resistance to hormone therapy happens so that we can find better ways to treat it, or prevent it entirely. In this project, the researcher will be studying what happens to certain proteins when prostate cancer cells stop responding to hormone therapy.

It is hoped that this approach will help to identify new targets for treatments that could be used in addition to or instead of hormone therapy to help prevent the cancer progressing to an advanced stage where it no longer responds to hormone treatment (known as Castrate Resistant Prostate Cancer).

Progress so far 

Kelly and her team have been investigating a methylase, a protein that regulates the activity of the Androgen Receptor. They’ve identified other parts of the cell that are affected by the methylase, which will help them to understand how its activity differs in aggressive cancers.

Initial work looking into these other components have found that drugs that prevent them from working also stop prostate cancer cells from growing. Going forward, Kelly and her team want to confirm these results in patient samples to look at their value as drugs or tests for diagnosis.

Grant information

Institution - Newcastle University
Researcher - Dr Kelly Coffey
Grant award - £688,207
Duration - 2014-2019
Reference - CDF12-006 Coffey