Researcher - Dr Claire Edwards
Institution - University of Oxford
Grant award - £100,000
Reference - S13-012
PhD student - Christina Turner
This project will investigate how different amounts of a molecule called Leukaemia Inhibitory Factor (LIF) affect the spread of prostate cancer to the bone, to work out whether LIF could be a new target for advanced prostate cancer treatment.
Dr Edwards has previously discovered that men whose prostate cancer eventually spreads to the bones, have an increased amount of Leukaemia Inhibitory Factor (LIF) in their blood.
Once prostate cancer spreads to the bone, there is no cure and treatments are purely palliative. So it’s important to try to understand how prostate cancer spreads to the bone so that we can find new therapies to treat it.
During the first year of the project, Claire and Christina have found that the absence of LIF in prostate cancer cells altered their ability to move, which is key to the metastatic process. They have also discovered that the amount of LIF increased when prostate cancer cells were grown alongside bone cells. Taken together these results suggest that LIF plays an important role in the spread of prostate cancer to bone.
Over the next two years, they aim to further investigate this relationship between prostate cancer cells and bone cells to determine what might be causing this increase in LIF. They will also explore whether changing the amount of LIF present in prostate cancer cells can influence the development of bone metastases.