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Researching into ‘starving’ prostate cancer gets underway

Professor David Bates, who is leading the research into prostate cancer

Professor David Bates, who is leading the research into prostate cancer

Press release issued: 21 October 2011

A research programme looking at improving the treatment and life expectancy of men with prostate cancer has been awarded almost £100,000.

Professor David Bates, from the University of Bristol’s School for Physiology and Pharmacology, will lead the three-year project which aims to establish whether drugs could be developed to cut off the blood supply to prostate tumours, effectively starving the cancer and preventing it from growing and spreading in men.

The project could potentially yield significant improvements in the treatment of prostate cancer, a disease which affects more than 250,000 men in the UK.

Funding of £98,889 has been awarded by The Mike Gooley Trailfinders Charity and The Prostate Cancer Charity.

Professor Bates said: “We are delighted that the Mike Gooley Trailfinders Charity on behalf of the Prostate Cancer Charity has agreed to fund this prestigious PhD studentship for three years.

“Studentships provide vital training and help graduates to build their careers in prostate cancer research. The training and development of new young scientists in the field is crucial to advance prostate cancer research and continue its successful progress for the future.

“This project is a laboratory study of the molecules controlling blood vessel growth within prostate cancer tumours. If we can use these molecules to cut off the blood supply to prostate tumours, this will starve cancer cells of nutrients and oxygen and slow the spread of cancer in men.

“We hope that eventually this project will result in drugs for advanced prostate cancer, in order to increase the life span of men in the later stages of the disease.”

At the moment 10,000 men with prostate cancer die every year and more than 37,000 men are diagnosed every year in the UK.

Dr Kate Holmes, Research Manager at The Prostate Cancer Charity, said slowing down and potentially stopping the progression of prostate cancer is one of the most significant challenges facing research into the disease today.

She added: “It is our hope that this study will help us make important strides in helping to stop the spread of the disease in men. Medical research is vitally important if we are to stop men dying of prostate cancer and improve the lives of men living with the disease.

“Thanks to this generous funding, the Charity has been able to commission this important research at the University of Bristol, which could potentially have a significant impact for thousands of men. Only with continued investment into research can we create a future where men’s lives are no longer limited by prostate cancer.”

The funding is spearheaded by Mike Gooley, CBE and founder of Trailfinders, the specialist tailormade travel company.

Mike, who is also Patron of The Prostate Cancer Charity, has been an active supporter since 1997, donating more than £1million over the last 13 years, through the Mike Gooley Trailfinders Charity.

Since The Prostate Cancer Charity was launched in 1996, it has invested £9.5million into prostate cancer research across the spectrum from laboratory work, clinical research with patients, to survivorship research into the physical, psychological and emotional issues affecting men with prostate cancer and their families.

Further information

About The Prostate Cancer Charity

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in men in the UK. Every year in the UK 37,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer. One man dies every hour of prostate cancer in the UK.

African Caribbean men are three times more likely to develop prostate cancer than white men.

The Prostate Cancer Charity is striving for a world where lives are no longer limited by prostate cancer. The Charity is fighting prostate cancer on every front - through research, support, information and campaigning.

If you have any queries about prostate cancer, call The Prostate Cancer Charity's confidential Helpline 0800 074 8383 which is staffed by specialist nurses and open from 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday and Wednesdays from 7 - 9pm or visit their website.