Researcher - Dr Hector Keun
Institution - Imperial College London
Grant award - £49,995
Duration - 2014-2015
Reference - PA13-016 Keun

In a nutshell

A pilot study looking at how a newly discovered set of genes, microRNAs, are involved in controlling prostate cancer cell metabolism.

Why we funded it

Like all cells, prostate cancer cells need energy and they get it by breaking down nutrients in a process called metabolism. Because cancer cells grow so much quicker than normal cells, they alter their metabolism to keep up with the extra demand for energy. The researchers think that they have identified a gene, one of a newly discovered set of molecules called microRNAs, that plays a significant role in controlling the metabolism of prostate cancer cells. The researchers will investigate exactly how the microRNA is controlling metabolism and whether blocking it would cut off the cancer cells’ energy supply and stop them growing. This would provide a potential new therapeutic target.