On the 1st March 2017, our team of London Marathon runners were invited to Kings College London to meet the scientists and take a tour of our labs to gain insight into our three research projects. The charity is funding world class scientists to develop new treatments, and fundraisers had the opportunity to meet the three groups working at Kings College London.

One group led by Dr Magali Williamson is working on the spread of prostate cancer, because it is the spread of the cancer out of the prostate that makes the difference between potential cure and life-threatening disease. Magali made an important breakthrough – she discovered a mutation that is common in prostate cancer in a gene controlling cell movement and she found that this mutation accelerates spread in model systems. So Magali is now developing interventions that will block the mutation and either prevent spread or kill the cells that have spread.

The group led by Dr Aamir Ahmed is working on prostate cancer stem cells. The cancer stem cells are just a tiny fraction of the cancer cells that drive the growth and spread of the cancer. If we could target and kill the cancer stem cells we could potentially cure the cancer. Dr Ahmed has found that the cancer stem cells produce very high levels of a protein that drives cell growth. This protein can be inhibited with drugs that are already used in man for other medical conditions, so the group is now testing these drugs against prostate cancer in model systems in the hope that they can be used to slow down prostate cancer growth.

The third group led by Christine Galustian is developing immunotherapy for prostate cancer, helping the man’s immune system to fight the cancer. They are developing a combination of treatments that expose the cancer cells to the immune system and boost the immune killer cells, the immune cells that kill foreign cells. Using their combination treatment, they have already cured prostate cancers in animals. So, the work is at a very exciting stage and we are keen to drive it towards the clinic so that it can start to be used in men with life-threatening prostate cancer.

We would like to say an enormous thank you to you all for choosing the Prostate Cancer Research Centre. Your support is absolutely vital and will help to keep this research moving forward.