Researchers from the University of Strathclyde have received a grant worth more than £500,000 to help develop an all-new drug to treat prostate cancer.
The grant has been awarded by Prostate Cancer UK as part of its Research Innovation Awards scheme.
The study, led by Professor Simon Mackay, aims to develop a new type of drug and bring it a step closer to clinical trials. He and his team have spent the last decade developing a chemical which could target a completely different protein in the cancer cell to other treatments.
If successful, this new drug has the potential not only to stop the cancer from growing but also to increase the effectiveness of other existing treatments.
Latest figures show that a record 12,000 men have died from prostate cancer in a single year in the UK, highlighting the need for new research to help diagnose and treat the disease. It is the most common cancer in men and kills one man every 45 minutes in the UK.
The study is one of eight projects sharing a total of £2.8 million from Prostate Cancer UK. .
Professor Mackay, of Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Science, said: “Many existing drugs for men with advanced prostate cancer work in the same way. Although they can be very effective, men are left with few options once their cancer becomes resistant to these drugs.
“That’s why I was so excited when I came across studies by colleagues which showed that men with aggressive prostate cancer had higher levels of a protein called IKK alpha. Our team realised that if we could attack this protein, we could stop prostate cancer from growing and also help men respond to treatments for longer without becoming resistant.
“After years of research and negotiating many hurdles, we now believe we’ve found the chemical that can do this, but we need to do more research to find the best way for this drug to be delivered to men.
Thanks to the funding from Prostate Cancer UK, we now have the chance to bring this treatment one step closer to clinical trials. After all this time, I’d be over the moon if I could make that difference to men affected by prostate cancer.”
Simon Grieveson, Head of Research Funding, at Prostate Cancer UK said: “We know that around 20% of men with prostate cancer are diagnosed at a stage where their cancer has already progressed beyond the prostate and cannot be cured. By funding Professor Mackay’s exciting research to develop a new drug for prostate cancer, we hope it can take us a step closer towards our goal of stopping prostate cancer from being a killer.”
Professor Simon Mackay’s research could have a life-changing impact on men with advanced prostate cancer, such as patient and campaigner Lloyd Pinder.
Lloyd said: “I’ve been through so many different treatments, like hormone therapies and chemotherapy. But they’ve all eventually stopped working for me. It’s hard to stay positive when I know my options are limited, and my time is running out with my family.
“But I know I have to keep going. I have everything to live for. And it’s research into new treatments like Professor Simon Mackay’s that keep me hopeful. I just have to live long enough to be able to tap into them, it's as simple as that.”