Project No. 08

Hormone Therapy: Stopping resistance in its tracks

Investigating how prostate cancers become resistant to hormone therapy

S c r o l l   R i g h t

What could this achieve?

Hormone therapy is a mainstay of prostate cancer treatment but for many patients, it will eventually stop working. Dr Gaughan will investigate how this happens, identifying new targets for treatments to prevent resistance and ensuring that hormone therapy continues to be an effective treatment.

How?

Dr Gaughan and his team will use gene-editing techniques and two new methods they have developed to explore and identify the processes and key proteins behind resistance caused by AR-Vs.

The Future- what’s next?

The researchers will first identify the key proteins involved then conduct further testing to validate them as potential drug targets for future research.

What could this achieve?

Hormone therapy is a mainstay of prostate cancer treatment but for many patients, it will eventually stop working. Dr Gaughan will investigate how this happens, identifying new targets for treatments to prevent resistance and ensuring that hormone therapy continues to be an effective treatment.

How?

Dr Gaughan and his team will use gene-editing techniques and two new methods they have developed to explore and identify the processes and key proteins behind resistance caused by AR-Vs.

The Future- what’s next?

The researchers will first identify the key proteins involved then conduct further testing to validate them as potential drug targets for future research.

Project Start

January 2020

Research Facility

Newcastle University Centre for Cancer

Budget

£110,000/year

End

January 2024

The Project

The androgen receptor (AR) is a protein on prostate cancer cells that drives cancer growth. Hormone therapy works by blocking the AR from being able to tell cancer cells to grow, but different forms of the AR, called AR-Variants or ARVs, can be made by cancer cells and stop hormone therapy from working. ARVs exist in about 95% of cancers which have spread outside the prostate.

We know that the AR exists in two parts: the bit outside the cell, where hormone therapies attach to, and the bit inside the cell, which tells the cancer to grow. We know that ARVs are like cut-off versions of the AR. The bit outside the cell has been lost, so there is nowhere for hormone therapies to work, and the bit inside the cell is always “on,” so that the AR is still driving cancer growth even when the man is receiving treatment. We don’t know how ARVs are generated, or how we can stop this process. Our researchers have developed cutting-edge technology to give us powerful insights into how ARVs are made in advanced prostate cancer cells. They will also find out which proteins are critical to make ARVs, and if those proteins could be blocked with drugs, giving us a new and better way to treat advanced prostate cancer. By preventing the generation of drug resistant ARVs, hormone therapy resistance could be delayed, reversed or avoided completely.

Check back soon to find out more about Dr Luke Gaughan’s research project!

 

 

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