Investigating the role of PDE47 – a new prostate cancer biomarker

Background to the project

The researchers had previously identified that a protein called PDE4D7 can act as a marker for prostate cancer that no longer responds to hormone therapy. The PDE4D7 protein binds to a number of other proteins, and the researchers think that together, this group of proteins might play an important part in prostate cancer development. Interrupting how these proteins work may one day lead to new treatments for advanced prostate cancer.

What they set out to do

In this project the researchers investigated the PDE4D7 protein further by studying what other proteins interact with it. They had previously “fished” out PDE4D7 from cancer cells to see what was stuck to it. Through this they found that there were 18 proteins that potentially interact with PDE4D7. So to confirm if any of these were real, they set out to do the reverse of the experiments, by "fishing" out each of the potential binding partners and then checking if PDE4D7 was also attached.

What they found out

The researchers confirmed that one of these proteins does partner with PDE4D7 in cancer cells and is involved in maintaining the accuracy of genetic information in cells. The researchers genetically modified prostate cancer cells so that they could not produce this protein and noticed that the cancer cells stopped growing and started to die. This suggests that this protein is important in the development of prostate cancer. In future, they will aim to better understand how these two proteins stick together so that a drug can be designed to disrupt this partnership.

How this will benefit men

This work is still in the early stages, but it is an important step along the way towards developing a new treatment. If this could stop prostate cancer from becoming resistant to hormone therapy, then it could save many men’s lives.

Grant information

Researcher - Professor George Baillie
Institution - University of Glasgow
Grant award - £49,977.00
Reference - PA14-002