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Rising Stars part of countrywide discovery

A minority of men diagnosed with prostate cancer face advanced cancers that are likely to grow. One type is neuroendocrine prostate cancer (NEPC) which can be lethal and doesn’t respond to standard treatments.

Most men diagnosed with NEPC survive less than one year. To solve this, a group of Canadian researchers set out to better understand NEPC and why it is so aggressive.

A hopeful future for NEPC treatment

“Unfortunately, there are few treatment options for NEPC,” says Dr. Stuart Edmonds, Vice President, Research, Health Promotion and Survivorship.

But Prostate Cancer Canada’s Rising Star Award recipients Drs. Paul Boutros and Hansen He, contributors to this important study, are hopeful they’ve discovered something that could change the way men with NEPC are treated.
Drs. Paul Boutros and Hansen He
Comparing tumours from NEPC cells with other, less aggressive types of prostate cancer cells, the researchers found that a group of genes they call “master regulators” acted differently in the NEPC cells. One of the most important master regulators they identified is the ONECUT gene, necessary for NEPC cells to grow. ONECUT also helps NEPC cells respond to low oxygen.

 “This type of research is critical to find effective treatment options that will give Canadian families hope.”

Dr. Stuart Edmonds

NEPC thrives in environments with low oxygen. Other types of prostate cancer cells do not, which opens a path to treat NEPC with new drugs that only turn on in conditions with low oxygen. It could specifically target and kill NEPC cells without harming normal cells.

What does this mean?

This study suggests that those with NEPC, who currently have few options, could be treated with therapy targeted specifically for low-oxygen environments. It also has implications for other types of neuroendocrine cancers, like lung, where ONECUT could also play a significant role.

Investing in bright minds

Prostate Cancer Canada is proud to support Drs. Paul Boutros and Hansen He. As Rising Star Award recipients, they have been supported by PCC and Movember since early in their independent careers in prostate cancer research. Both have been involved in important projects. Other co-investigators who participated in this study, including Drs. Robert Bristow, Martin Gleave, Theo van der Kwast, Yuzhuo Wang and Amina Zoubeidi are supported by Prostate Cancer Canada. The ONECUT project was funded by The Movember Foundation.

Your donation helps protect men and their families from prostate cancer.
You'll be supporting the most promising research projects, and providing men with care and support when they need it most. 
Posted: 2019-02-28 10:16:41 AM


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