Project No. 04

Modelling Prostate Cancer

Creating sophisticated, world-first models of advanced prostate cancer to accelerate drug development

S c r o l l   R i g h t

The Project

This project was launched as a result of Dr Williamson's work. It is creating sophisticated in-vivo models of advanced prostate cancer.

How?

The team is developing innovative, world-first models to test the effectiveness of new treatments for metastatic prostate cancer, to see if they are good enough and safe enough to be tested in humans.

What will this achieve?

The primary purpose of the models is to test the treatments being developed by other PCRC scientists. Better models of prostate cancer will also help us to better understand the disease.

The Future

The scientists will continue to develop in-vivo models of prostate cancer which will help to develop better therapies and get them into patients much faster.

The Project

This project was launched as a result of Dr Williamson's work. It is creating sophisticated in-vivo models of advanced prostate cancer.

How?

The team is developing innovative, world-first models to test the effectiveness of new treatments for metastatic prostate cancer, to see if they are good enough and safe enough to be tested in humans.

What will this achieve?

The primary purpose of the models is to test the treatments being developed by other PCRC scientists. Better models of prostate cancer will also help us to better understand the disease.

The Future

The scientists will continue to develop in-vivo models of prostate cancer which will help to develop better therapies and get them into patients much faster.

Project Start

October 2017

Research Facility

European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute, Cardiff University

Budget

£87,000/year

End

October 2020

What are cancer models?

Preclinical models of cancer are cells or tissues used in the lab to study how cancer works, and are important for testing new treatments before they are given to humans. Modelling has greatly contributed to our understanding of cancer, and due to the cost and possible risk to humans associated with clinical trials, thorough testing of any new treatment using models is very important.

PCRC funded scientist Professor Matt Smalley, Director of the European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute, who is creating new prostate cancer models, explains why we need these models.

It’s important that cancer models are appropriate, and resemble the real behaviour of human cancers as much as possible. For example, you wouldn’t test a prostate cancer drug using a breast cancer model. At the minute, there aren’t enough preclinical models of advanced prostate cancer, and the models that exist are less than ideal. It’s hard to see if new treatments reduce symptoms, and impossible to study the long-term outcomes of a new therapy.

Matt’s Research Project

The lack of advanced prostate cancer models is hindering progress. PCRC funded experts at Cardiff University’s European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute, are working to overcome this. They are developing innovative, world-first models to test the effectiveness of treatments for metastatic prostate cancer, to see if they are good enough and safe enough to be tested in humans.

The team have already used their models to help PCRC scientist, Dr Williamson, validate protein PlexinB1 as a therapeutic target to treat prostate cancer. This is an indication of how valuable these models are and they can be used to further test any and all potential therapies before they go to clinical trial, which will save researchers a lot of time and money.

Professor Matt Smallet

Cancer cells viewed with a microscope

The primary purpose of these models is to test the effectiveness of new treatments being developed by other PCRC scientists – immunotherapy, PlexinB1 inhibition, and repurposing MPCRs. However, they will also be useful for any therapies, treatments and investigations that PCRC undertake in the future.

Research lab at European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute (ECSRI), Cardiff University

What will this mean for prostate cancer patients?

Prostate cancer is a highly complicated disease. Better models will increase our understanding of the disease, help to develop much better therapies – and get new therapies to patients much, much faster.

The Future

Professor Matt Smalley and Dr Boris Shorning will continue to develop in-vivo models of advanced prostate cancer. These models will enable new highly detailed, non-surgical imaging techniques to be used which will enhance our understanding of the effects of new treatments on a molecular level. In addition to their work with Dr Williamson, they are also beginning to work with Dr Christine Galustian’s team, bringing novel immunotherapy for prostate cancer closer to the clinic.

Collaborations and Partnerships

This project collaborates with and enhances our other PCRC-funded projects.

Recent Scientific Articles

Identification of Pik3ca mutation as a genetic driver of prostate cancer that cooperates with Pten loss to accelerate progression and castration-resistant growth

Pearson, Helen, Li, Jason, Meniel, Valerie, Fennell, Christina, Waring, Paul, Montgomery, Karen, Rebello, Richard, Macpherson, Arthi, Koushyar, Sarah, Furic, Luc, Cullinane, Carleen, Clarkson, Richard, Smalley, Matthew, Simpson, Kaylene, Phesse, Toby, Shepherd, Peter, Humbert, Patrick, Sansom, Owen and Phillips, Wayne. March 2018,  Cancer Discovery

PRMT5 is a critical regulator of breast cancer stem cell function via Histone Methylation and FOXP1 expression. Chiang, K.et al. 2017. Cell Reports 21, pp. 3498-3513. (10.1016/j.celrep.2017.11.096) pdf

PTEN loss and activation of K-RAS and β-catenin cooperate to accelerate prostate tumourigenesis. Jefferies, M.et al. 2017. Journal of Pathology 243(4), pp. 442-456. (10.1002/path.4977) pdf

 

Help us Fund a Future for Men and their Families

As a small charity, we can focus the majority of our funds on research.

Support Us

Support the modelling prostate cancer project

Any donation you can make will help us fund this cutting-edge, life-saving research.

According to the Association of Medical Research Charities, it takes an average of 17 years
to develop an idea into a publicly available medical product. Improving the models used for testing therapies will ultimately speed up this process.

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