Identifying novel mechanisms of prostate cancer cell growth

In a nutshell

This project will look at how the male hormone testosterone controls the growth of prostate cancer cells in different groups of patients.

Why we funded it

A male hormone called testosterone can control how genes are read in different ways by selecting which genes are on or off. This project aims to find out which genes testosterone reads differently, in both cancer cells grown in the lab and prostate cancer patients. The researchers will then find out how these genes work and how important they are for prostate cancer growth. If we can understand how testosterone controls the way genes work we may be able to identify the most serious cancers and hopefully new targets for treatment.

Progress so far (year 2 of 3)

The PhD student, Karen Livermore, has been investigating ST6GAL1, a gene that is involved in adding sugar molecules to proteins. From analysing some patient data, she has found that ST6Gal1 is quite often changed in clinical prostate cancer cells. She’s found that having lots of this protein causes the cells stick to each other a lot more and stops them spreading. The team think this could be an indicator that this protein might be involved in creating tumours.

Grant information

Researcher - Professor David Elliott
Institution - Newcastle University
Grant award - £92,663
Reference - S13-020