Project No. 03

The Spread of Prostate Cancer

An exciting new approach to stop the spread of prostate cancer around the body

S c r o l l   R i g h t

The Project

The spread of prostate cancer project is conducting world-first research into cell division and decoding the deadly spread of prostate cancer.

How?

Dr Williamson has discovered that an overexpression of the protein PlexinB1 is common in cases of advanced prostate cancer. The work is now looking to inhibit PlexinB1's functions and stop the cancer spreading.

PlexinB1

PlexinB1 has healthy and necessary functions, so it is important not to 'knock-out' all it's functions. The aim is to develop 'monoclonal' antibodies and only target the functions relevant to the spread of cancerous cells.

What could this achieve?

New antibodies that stop the spread of prostate cancer cells could contain early prostate cancer within the prostate, therefore stopping it from becoming advanced.

The Future

Dr Williamson and her team are currently testing a range of different drugs and, with the results, will begin to look at using them at different stages of the disease.

The Project

The spread of prostate cancer project is conducting world-first research into cell division and decoding the deadly spread of prostate cancer.

How?

Dr Williamson has discovered that an overexpression of the protein PlexinB1 is common in cases of advanced prostate cancer. The work is now looking to inhibit PlexinB1's functions and stop the cancer spreading.

PlexinB1

PlexinB1 has healthy and necessary functions, so it is important not to 'knock-out' all it's functions. The aim is to develop 'monoclonal' antibodies and only target the functions relevant to the spread of cancerous cells.

What could this achieve?

New antibodies that stop the spread of prostate cancer cells could contain early prostate cancer within the prostate, therefore stopping it from becoming advanced.

The Future

Dr Williamson and her team are currently testing a range of different drugs and, with the results, will begin to look at using them at different stages of the disease.

Project Start

December 2014

Research Facility

Cancer Division, King’s College London

Budget

£95,000/year

End

December 2019

Impact

PCRC systematically monitors and evaluates the impact of our research using a set of metrics, or ‘Research Progress Indicators.’ They represent outcomes of research which is a catalyst for the development of new prostate cancer therapies. In the last 12 months, this project has achieved the following results.

Creating and Disseminating New Knowledge

  • European Association of Urology London 2017 conference
  • Talk titled ‘Semaphorin/plexin signaling promotes nucleocytoplasmic trafficking of nuclear receptors’ at annual European Urology Meeting, London 2017
  • Regular talks at cell mobility group meeting, Randall Division of Cell and Molecular Biophysics, King’s College London

Growing Expertise

Dr Williamson as taught on a Biology of Cancer course at King’s College, supervised a Wellcome Trust vacation scholarship student, and examined a PhD candidate at Queen Mary’s College London. Her expertise was further recognized, and she had another chance to grow the expertise of others, when she was invited to review funding applications made to the Estonia Research Council.

Scientific Progress

Dr Williamson’s major recent breakthrough was the production of an antibody against PlexinB1 which reduces the spread of prostate cancer cells, as a first step towards developing a therapeutic agent targeting PlexinB1.

PlexinB1 and ADT Resistance

Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is the first line of treatment for progressive prostate cancer. ADT is effective at first but fails in some men due to the development of resistance. Dr Williamson’s team previously found that activation of plexinB1 by semaphorin4D (sema4D) may contribute to this ADT resistance.

PlexinB1 and sema4D Expression

As PlexinB1 contributes to metastasis, it may be a potential marker for prostate cancers that will spread and which should be treated rapidly. Work began and is underway to determine if the levels of plexinB1 and Sema4D expression can predict how a tumour will behave, and give guidance as to how a tumour should be treated.

Help us fund a future for men and their families

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

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Support the Spread of Prostate Cancer Project

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

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