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UEA project to investigate use of nanomedicines for prostate cancer

Fri, 31 Jan 2014

A new research project to see if 'nanomedicines' can be used to improve prostate cancer treatment is launching at the University of East Anglia - thanks to a £750,000 grant from Prostate Cancer UK.

Dr Wafa Al-Jamal from UEA's school of Pharmacy will lead the five-year project to explore better ways of delivering chemotherapy to patients.

She said: "Chemotherapy is a commonly used therapy for advanced prostate cancer but it can cause serious side effects, because it can't tell apart cancerous cells from healthy ones. The work that we are going to do will see whether using nanomedicine can improve effectiveness of treatment with a reduced impact on quality of life. Nanomedicine uses very small particles which can recognise prostate cancer cells wherever they may be, to deliver a drug where it is needed."

"This Career Development Fellowship award from Prostate Cancer UK will enable me to set up my own lab and build a strong team around me. I am extremely excited about what we will be able to achieve in five years."

The grant is one of two Career Development Fellowships awarded by Prostate Cancer UK with support from the Movember Foundation. The first of their kind to be awarded by the charity, these large grants are given to enable a senior postdoctoral researcher to establish their own research team and carry out an in depth project over five years.

The announcement follows the launch of Prostate Cancer UK's new campaign Men United v Prostate Cancer, which is calling on people across the country to sign for a new team - Men United, adding their weight to the new movement to fight the apathy and neglect surrounding one of the UK's biggest man killers and beat the devastating 'dads disease' once and for all.

Dr Iain Frame, director of research at Prostate Cancer UK said: "Each year almost as many men are diagnosed with prostate cancer as women are diagnosed with breast cancer. But research into prostate cancer is badly underfunded, leaving tests and treatments trailing behind other common cancers. Through funding the rising stars of the future, enabling them to develop ground breaking projects such as this, we hope to be able to drive forward the understanding, diagnosis and treatment for the disease so that more men can survive and have a better quality of life in the future.

"Thanks to the support of the Movember Foundation, we have been able to rapidly accelerate our mission to find the answers to the many questions which still surround prostate cancer. While this provides a fantastic launch pad, we still need to dramatically increase awareness of the disease and support for the cause, if we are to truly deliver a better future for men. This is why through our new campaign - Men United V Prostate Cancer - we are calling on everyone, from all walks of life, to sign up and join us in the fight. Together we can and will beat prostate cancer."

The Career Development Fellowships were awarded via a competitive process, and were subject to detailed assessment from external peer reviewers and the Prostate Cancer UK Research Advisory Committee. Both of the projects which are to receive funding were chosen because of their extremely high calibre of the fellows, the excellent research proposals and relevance to men with prostate cancer.