Researchers from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland have received a grant worth more than £500,000 to help develop an all-new drug to treat prostate cancer.
The study, led by Professor Simon Mackay, aims to develop a new type of drug and bring it a step closer to clinical trials.
He and his team have spent the last decade developing a chemical which could target a completely different protein in the cancer cell to other treatments.
If successful, this new drug has the potential not only to stop the cancer from growing but also to increase the effectiveness of other existing treatments.
Latest figures show that a record 12,000 men have died from prostate cancer in a single year in the UK, highlighting the need for new research to help diagnose and treat the disease. It is the most common cancer in men and kills one man every 45 minutes in the UK.
The grant has been awarded by Prostate Cancer UK as part of its Research Innovation Awards scheme. The study is one of eight projects sharing a total of £2.8 million from Prostate Cancer UK.
“Many existing drugs for men with advanced prostate cancer work in the same way. Although they can be very effective, men are left with few options once their cancer becomes resistant to these drugs,” said Professor Mackay of Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Science.
“That’s why I was so excited when I came across studies by colleagues which showed that men with aggressive prostate cancer had higher levels of a protein called IKK alpha.
“Our team realised that if we could attack this protein, we could stop prostate cancer from growing and also help men respond to treatments for longer without becoming resistant.
“After years of research and negotiating many hurdles, we now believe we’ve found the chemical that can do this, but we need to do more research to find the best way for this drug to be delivered to men.
“Thanks to the funding from Prostate Cancer UK, we now have the chance to bring this treatment one step closer to clinical trials. After all this time, I’d be over the moon if I could make that difference to men affected by prostate cancer.”