First of its kind treatment for incurable prostate cancer

Dr. Amina Zoubeidi, an associate professor at the University of British Columbia is set to change the course of treatment for neuroendocrine prostate cancer (NEPC) – a deadly form of prostate cancer for which there is no effective treatment. She and her team have developed and are testing a drug they hope will be a major breakthrough.
 
Dr. Amina Zoubeidi
After discovering the BRN2 molecule that NEPC needs to survive and spread, Dr. Zoubeidi’s team developed a first-of-its-kind drug that targets and blocks BRN2. Without BRN2, NEPC tumours are stopped in their tracks. Her team is modifying this drug so it can be tested in clinical trials on humans, hopefully in the near future.
Dr. Zoubeidi’s team at University of
British Columbia

How NEPC evolves

Prostate cancer cells need hormones, like testosterone, to grow. As a result many men are treated with hormone therapy that essentially starves tumours of the fuel (the hormones) they need to grow and survive. However, Dr. Zoubeidi says: “These therapies are a double-edged sword.”

The downside is the fact that about a quarter of prostate cancers evolve to survive hormone therapy and come back stronger and more aggressive, turning into NEPC.

Making breakthroughs possible

This breakthrough has come after years of dogged work. Dr. Zoubeidi’s career has been focused on understanding how NEPC disease develops. 9 years as a principle investigator at the Vancouver Prostate Centre,  and with years of financial support from Prostate Cancer Canada and partner Movember, Dr. Zoubeidi is on the cusp of a breakthrough.
 

“It’s exciting to understand how cancer evolves to become aggressive, and how we can design ways to attack these aggressive cancers.”

As the first female scientist to receive a Translation Acceleration Grant from Prostate Cancer Canada and Movember in 2017, Dr. Zoubeidi is a leader in treatment-resistant prostate cancer research. She says: “Prostate Cancer Canada has contributed tremendously to prostate cancer research in Canada, creating an environment that attracts the best scientists and facilitates collaborations across the country.”

“It’s through the diversity and inclusion of many brilliant minds that we can continue to excel as researchers and support Canadian families facing this disease.”

 
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Posted: 2019-02-08 3:10:16 PM


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