Exploiting defects in prostate cancer for new therapies

University of OxfordDr Freddie Hamdy£248,9752010 - 2013

Why we funded it

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in British men. When hormone treatment stops working in patients with advanced disease, only a few options for treatment remain, including chemotherapy, which often has limited efficiency and gives toxic side-effects. Professor Helleday proposes to validate a target molecule for novel treatment of prostate cancer. Drugs may be developed in future directed to this target molecule with the potential to treat advanced hormone-resistant prostate cancers.

Scientific title

Exploiting defects in DNA repair for treatment of prostate cancer

Research project summary

Prostate cancer growth is dependent on testosterone and can be treated with hormone therapy to reduce testosterone levels.  Hormone treatment is used mostly for advanced prostate cancer that has spread beyond the confines of the prostate gland and is therefore no longer suitable for surgery or radiotherapy.  Unfortunately, it is only effective for a time and after a few years, prostate cancers often stop responding and start growing again.

Professor Helleday's project will look at developing an entirely new type of treatment for advanced prostate cancer that has become resistant to hormone therapy.  This is based on exploiting a defect in DNA repair that is present in prostate cancer cells but not normal cells.  The team already has experience of developing this type of treatment for breast cancer, which has already led to clinical trials.  At the end of this project it is hoped that the research will have located potential drug targets in the DNA repair pathway that can be followed up by drug companies.