Understanding how the androgen receptor controls advanced prostate cancer development

In a nutshell

The androgen receptor is very important for prostate cancer growth and spread. This project looks at understanding how different forms of the androgen receptor are regulated in advanced prostate cancer.

Why we funded it

Variant androgen receptors are commonly found in the cells of men with advanced prostate cancer and their presence allows the cancer cells to grow even in the presence of treatment. These altered receptors are therefore a major problem for men with advanced disease.

Understanding how the androgen receptor is regulated during the progression of advanced prostate cancer is important for the identification of new, targeted treatments that could provide a better long-term solution for men with advanced disease.

Progress so far

Over the past 12 months, the researchers have shown that variant androgen receptors have a protein called SUMO attached to them in treatment resistant prostate cancer cells. By removing SUMO, they have shown that variant androgen receptors levels are reduced in cells which suggests that SUMO helps to maintain them in cancer cells to drive tumour progression.

In addition to this, the researchers are using a novel technique called CRISPR to help engineer cells to have variant androgen receptors in them. Once completed, these cells can then be studied to provide clues as to how the variant androgen receptors drive cancer and how they can be stopped from working.

Grant information 

Researcher - Dr Luke Gaughan
Institution - Newcastle University
Grant award - £99,862.32
Reference – S14-007