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Researchers drive personalised medicines approach to prostate cancer

Posted on 5 September 2016

Cancer researcher, Professor Norman Maitland, from the University of York, is part of a new £2.6 million award scheme to further understanding of personalised medicine for prostate cancer.

The £536,000 grant has been awarded by Prostate Cancer UK will contribute to research into which drugs work best for each patient and which treatments are suited to the individual cells within each patient.

Professor Maitland’s work suggests that rather than drug resistance developing over time, some of the cells that are resistant to treatments, such as chemotherapy, are present from the very beginning – and it’s these cells that are responsible for the cancer progressing, even after an initial response to treatment.

Treatment strategy

Professor Maitland, from the University's Department of Biology, said: “Just like no two men are the same, every man’s cancer is individual to him and every man responds to treatment differently. Through this work we want to be able to predict which treatments will be most effective for an individual by studying a sample of their cancer cells in the lab.

“In three years' time we want to be in a position to develop a protocol to inform clinicians about the treatment strategy that is most likely to work best for their patients.”

Prostate cancer kills over 1,000 men in Yorkshire and the Humber every year and over 4,000 are diagnosed with the disease. Over the next ten years Prostate Cancer UK has set out to tame prostate cancer so that it becomes a disease that doesn’t pose the same threat to men’s lives that it does today.

Next generation

Dr Iain Frame, Director of Research at Prostate Cancer UK, said; “Through shifting the science over the next decade, we want to transform prostate cancer into a disease that the next generation of men will not fear.

“Pioneering research like this, is going to play a key role in helping us to achieve our ten year goal and we’re looking forward to seeing how this work progresses.”

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For further information about Professor Maitland's research please visit:

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