September 16, 2019 - Prostate Cancer Canada today announced a $2 million investment in prostate cancer research, awarding 10 projects Prostate Cancer Canada and Movember 2019 Discovery Grants. Grant recipients include the Vancouver Prostate Centre's Drs Cox, Gleave and Goldenberg. Prostate Cancer Canada's press release includes details on all recipients, and excerpts from this press release are below.
Prostate cancer’s Achilles’ heel
Drs. Michael E Cox and Kishor Wasan (University of British Columbia, University of Saskatchewan)
Prostate cancer feeds off testosterone, and is treated with hormone therapy when it spreads outside the prostate, cutting off the supply of testosterone to slow tumour growth. But in some cases, the cancer continues to grow, evolving to be incurable. The big question: how is it possible for prostate cancer to grow when its testosterone supply has been cut off? Drs. Cox and Wasan are researching a new discovery – that the cancer is actually changing cholesterol into testosterone. Their team is looking at cholesterol-lowering drugs, called statins, to cut off cholesterol’s pathways into the prostate cancer cells. No cholesterol means no testosterone, which means cancer cells starve and stop growing. They hope to create a therapy that would block both the creation of testosterone from cholesterol, and the attraction of cholesterol to prostate cancer cells.
Dr. Cox says: “The hope is that we’ll be able to turn advanced prostate cancer into a manageable condition, not a lethal disease.”
Tracing cancer’s path from innocuous to lethal
Dr. Martin Gleave (University of British Columbia, Vancouver)
What happens to a cancer cell when it stops responding to hormone therapy? How does it change, and what can that tell us? Using thousands of prostate cancer cells from patients, Dr. Gleave’s team will examine the changes the cells go through when hormone therapy begins, ends, and throughout treatment. By identifying if similar changes occur in different patients’ cells, Dr. Gleave hopes to discover common genes that could help doctors better manage patient care.
Dr. Gleave says: “We expect this research will yield novel insights into why prostate cancer progresses and becomes resistant, and could give doctors important information about which treatments will work best for their patients.”
Designing gold to seek and destroy prostate cancer
Dr. Larry Goldenberg (University of British Columbia, Vancouver)
On the heels of an explosion in the research of “seek and destroy” cancer treatment, Dr. Goldenberg is taking it one step further. There are now ways to use radiation that targets and kills cancer cells with minimal damage to the surrounding, healthy tissue. Unfortunately, this type of treatment is not well focussed for prostate cancer. Often, healthy cells in the salivary glands, kidneys, adrenal glands and other areas are damaged, resulting in significant side effects. For the first time, a specific part of prostate cancer cells is being studied to identify where radiation should be targeted. Dr. Goldenberg is designing a “gold” nanoparticle that would deliver radiation directly to that area of the cell, sparing damage to healthy tissue and reducing side effects for men receiving radiation treatment.
Dr. Goldenberg says: “Optimistically, this research would allow us to significantly control metastatic prostate cancer, and perhaps one day destroy cancer in the prostate before it has a chance to spread.”
For more information:
Prostate Cancer Canada
416-441-2131 ext 264
arden [dot] bagniprostatecancer [dot] ca
sonya [dot] friesenmovember [dot] com
About Prostate Cancer Canada
Prostate Cancer Canada is the leading national charity addressing prostate cancer needs across the country. We strive to save lives by improving prevention, detection and treatment of prostate cancer, and to enhance the quality of life for all Canadians affected by the disease through collaboration, driving world-class research and translating knowledge into better outcomes. To donate or learn more, please visit prostatecancer.ca.
Movember is the leading charity dedicated to changing the face of men’s health around the world. With a singular goal to stop men dying too young, Movember supports the following causes: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. Since 2003, the support of more than 5 million participants has funded over 1,200 innovative projects across more than 20 countries. To donate or learn more, please visit Movember.com.