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From idea to possibility: Moving research from the lab to patient care

Hope is becoming reality for men diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. About 10 to 15 per cent of men diagnosed will develop an aggressive form of the disease which spreads to other areas of the body. But a leading researcher is working to help these men and their families.

One way to slow the growth of this aggressive prostate cancer is hormone deprivation therapy (eliminating the male hormones in the body which the cancer needs to grow) – but this type of treatment can become less effective over time, and the cancer starts to grow and spread. The men who experience resistance urgently need another way to treat their disease.

That’s where Dr. Paul Rennie’s work comes in. Dr. Rennie and his team at University of British Columbia, including Drs. Artem Cherkasov and Emma Guns, are developing new ways to treat aggressive prostate cancer by targeting the cancer’s hormone receptors.
Dr. Paul Rennie
Dr. Paul Rennie in his University of British Columbia lab​

What do hormones have to do with prostate cancer?

The challenge is that, over time, hormone receptors change, or mutate, and stop responding to hormone deprivation therapy. The result is less effective treatment with more toxic side effects. Dr. Rennie and his team are developing drugs that target these hormone receptors even when they are mutated, and can stop them binding to male hormones like testosterone, which the tumour needs to grow.

According to Dr. Rennie:         

“These new compounds have the potential to produce a whole new generation of drugs to deal with hormone resistance.”

They could be used alone or in combination with other therapies to provide more effective and less toxic treatment of advanced prostate cancer.   

Outsmarting cancer

Drs. Rennie and Cherkasov
Drs. Rennie and Cherkasov

This new treatment is designed to outsmart the cancer by targeting a site in the hormone receptor that does not usually mutate, a promising approach that has received nearly $142 million to now move it from the lab to patient care. Funding from Prostate Cancer Canada over several years helped this research go from idea to possibility, and it is now showing realistic hope of being available to help patients in future.

Dedicated Prostate Cancer Canada supporters were instrumental in supporting this important project and propelling it forward. It is now on the cusp of helping Canadian men facing aggressive forms of prostate cancer and shows how funding innovative research can lead to real change.

Dr. Stuart Edmonds, VP Research, Health Promotion and Survivorship at Prostate Cancer Canada, says:

“This is the type of research that is meeting a critical gap, and giving renewed hope to men living with prostate cancer, and especially those who need more options.”

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: 2019-01-07 11:35:12 AM
Filed under: advanced, cancer, deprivation, hormone, prostate, research, therapy


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