Getting to know: Prostate Cancer Research Centre
Date published: Feb 07 2020
Prostate Cancer Research Centre (PCRC) is the newest NCRI partner. They were founded in 1988 by Professor John Masters, a scientist passionate about finding new treatments for prostate cancer, and who was aware of the lack of funding for advanced prostate cancer. He saw a growing need for new treatments as the population of the UK was ageing and more and more men received a diagnosis of advanced prostate cancer.
PCRC have recently embarked on a bold new chapter having increased their income by 46% in the last two years. They have doubled their grant expenditure and increased the number of projects they fund by 175% in a single year.
PCRC aim to fund research that will develop effective treatments and better our understanding of prostate cancer. They are the only UK charity solely focused on investing in prostate cancer research. Their mission is to increase survival rates, reduce morbidity and improve quality of life for men with prostate cancer.
PCRC actively seek out innovative and exceptional science proposed by outstanding scientists and have recently broadened the type of projects that they fund. Three of their new projects are pilot awards, which involve injecting a small amount of funds into high-risk, high-reward projects so that they can develop the idea for larger, longer term rewards. They are also conducting research to identify funding gaps within prostate cancer research.
PCRC recognise the importance of collaboration within cancer research and they are actively seeking and building relationships with other research organisations, such as Cancer Research UK, Prostate Cancer UK, Prostate Cancer Foundation and Tackle Prostate Cancer. They recognise that these partnerships will reduce costs and maximise their collective impact.
PCRC are also determined to build partnerships and collaborate with those affected by prostate cancer. They are shifting perspectives and putting patients’ experiences at the heart of the next generation of treatments. The launch of their Patient Voice project has enabled them to involve patients at every stage of the research process, from helping them to choose and feedback on new grants to meeting the scientists undertaking the ground-breaking research.
PCRC only fund research into advanced prostate cancer. They are currently funding 11 research projects with scientists working on a wide range of projects- from investigating the genetics behind prostate cancer to retraining the immune system to developing a new way to classify the disease.
- Professor Gert Attard will develop a test that can be used by doctors to choose treatment for patients based on the DNA profile of their individual cancer as part of the ground-breaking STAMPEDE clinical trial.
- Professor Bart Cornelissen is looking into combining radiotherapy with other drugs to make it more effective for more people.
- Dr Jorge de la Rosa is investigating the genetics behind prostate cancer, looking at how various genetic changes drive the growth and spread of cancer.
- Dr Harveer Dev is exploring why damaging cancer cell DNA only works as a treatment for some prostate cancer patients.
- Dr Luke Gaughan is investigating how prostate cancers become resistant to hormone therapy.
- Professor Iain McEwan is researching new approaches to hormone therapy to extend its life beyond resistance to current drugs.
- Professor Matthew Smalley is creating sophisticated in-vivo models of prostate cancer so we can develop our understanding of the disease.
- Dr Christine Galustian is working to harness the immune system’s innate ability to fight cancer.
- Dr Aamir Ahmed is repurposing off-the-shelf drugs to treat prostate cancer.
- Dr Magali Williamson is investigating how to stop the spread of prostate cancer.
- Dr Daniel Brewer is using machine learning to develop a new way to classify prostate cancer.