Developing new treatments to prevent the spread of prostate cancer cells

In a nutshell

We want to develop new drugs to block a destructive protein called WWP2 found inside prostate cancer cells and so stop it from attacking our natural defences against prostate cancer growth.

Why we funded it

There are often many side-effects and long-term complications associated with current treatments for prostate cancer. WWP2 is a protein involved in sending and receiving messages inside the cell. Dr Chantry’s earlier research has shown that if the amount of WWP2 increases it can cause tumour cells to become more aggressive. This project will look at new ways to block WWP2 and confirm whether this could be a good drug target for new prostate cancer treatments.

Progress so far

The PhD student has made some good progress so far and has gained some valuable experience. Over the last year, she has been trying to work out the overall 3-D shape of WWP2 to understand how it works and if a drug could stop it. WWP2 is made up of four sections; so far they’ve worked out the structure of one of the sections, and they’re close to solving the structure for another two. They’re having a few little problems with the remaining one, but they think they have a work-around to help them crack this one too in the coming year. The work that they’ve completed so far supports and strengthens the important role of WWP2 in the development and progression of prostate cancer and they are currently screening for new WWP2 inhibitors.  

Grant information

Researcher - Dr Andrew Chantry
Institution - University of East Anglia
Grant award - £89,334.00
Reference - S13-007

PhD student - Jessica Watt