The use of nitric oxide in combination with radiotherapy as a new treatment for prostate cancer

Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre, Western General HospitalProfessor Fouad Habib£108,2042008 - 2010

Why we funded it

Professor Habib has already demonstrated the power of NO in killing prostate cancer cells. The project has the potential to provide a drug that makes prostate cancer tumours more sensitive to radiotherapy. Such a drug would increase the effectiveness of current radiotherapy treatments.

Note: Nitric oxide (NO) should not be confused with nitrous oxide (N2O), the laughing gas used for anaesthesia.

Scientific title: The use of nitric oxide as a radiosensitiser of hypoxic prostate cancer.

Research project summary

Cancerous prostate cells can adapt to live with the low levels of oxygen found inside tumours. This has the effect of making them more resistant to treatments. For example, effective radiotherapy requires normal oxygen levels.

Professor Habib has shown that nitric oxide (NO) can be used to help radiotherapy kill prostate cancer cells. This project will look at different ways of getting NO in to prostate cancer cells. These include drugs with NO attached that are already in development for other purposes and safe for human use. Professor Habib will also be investigating how the NO helps the radiation to kill prostate cancer cells.