12:45am Tuesday 19 November 2019

Scottish researchers handed crucial role in search for prostate cancer answers

Scottish institutions will therefore receive three of the 17 grants Prostate Cancer UK is awarding as part of the first wave of funding through the charity’s ambitious new research strategy.

As part of its MANifesto, Prostate Cancer UK has pledged to find answers to some of the most important research challenges facing the disease today. The charity is injecting a colossal £11 million into research this year alone to focus on the key areas of understanding risk, improving diagnosis of the disease and improving treatment options for men living with it.

Dr Iain Frame, Director of Research at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “Due to a long legacy of underfunding and neglect we still know shockingly little about why prostate cancer kills 10,000 men every year. Prostate Cancer UK has vowed to scale up its mission to deliver so much more and so much better for men. By funding ground breaking projects such as these with the UK’s top research scientists we hope to be able to find the answers we so desperately need for the future.

“Thanks to the support of the Movember Foundation, Prostate Cancer UK has recently tripled its research spend to up to £25million over the next three years. While this provides a fantastic launch pad, we desperately need more money to crack this disease once and for all. Through our recently launched Sledgehammer Fund we are calling on everyone across the country to get behind men and help us in this mission. Together we can, and will, beat prostate cancer.”

Professor Rob Mairs from the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Cancer Sciences has received £205,000 to improve radiation treatment by directly targeting prostate cancer cells. He said: “Although radiotherapy is widely used in the treatment of prostate cancer, damage to neighbouring tissues and organs limits the dose which patients can receive. With the support of key funding from Prostate Cancer UK, we will develop a more targeted approach to radiotherapy, which will offer a more effective treatment of prostate cancer which has spread to other areas of the body. This new treatment plan, which involves the use of a new ground-breaking drug, will help reduce the risk of normal tissue damage.”

Mr Ghulam Nabi, Senior Lecturer in surgical uro-oncology at the University of Dundee, has received £237,000 to investigate whether new ultrasound techniques could be used to diagnose prostate cancer and identify whether it is aggressive or not. He said: “Current ultrasound techniques cannot reliably locate cancer within the prostate and MRI’s are not accurate enough to identify aggressive from benign cancers. Men must therefore endure an invasive biopsy to obtain a diagnosis. Thanks to this grant from Prostate Cancer UK our researchers have the opportunity to trial new and innovative ultrasound techniques to better identify cancerous tissues in the prostate, as well as helping to better determine whether a tumour is aggressive or benign. We hope that as a result we will be able to help more men to be diagnosed faster and more accurately in the future.”

Professor Simon Mackay, from the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Science at the University of Strathclyde, has received £249,000 to develop a new ground-breaking drug to treat advanced prostate cancer. He said: “We have developed a new drug-like compound which could help improve life expectancy for men with advanced prostate cancer over and above the six months associated with the present ‘gold standard’ – chemotherapy drug, docetaxel. We are delighted that this new Prostate Cancer UK grant enables our researchers to continue to develop a new drug candidate ready for clinical trials, building on earlier funding from Cancer Research UK.”

The grants were awarded via a competitive process, and were subject to detailed assessment from external peer reviewers and the Prostate Cancer UK Research Advisory Committee.  All 17 of the projects to receive funding were chosen because of their extremely high quality and relevance to men with prostate cancer.

For further information, and a summary of all research projects, please visit http://prostatecanceruk.org/research/funded-research?year=2013

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