Keele researchers handed crucial role in search for prostate cancer answers

Posted on 03 February 2014
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.

Researchers from Keele University have received a grant for £50,000 to increase understanding of how to treat advanced prostate cancer. They have been awarded one of 12 grants from Prostate Cancer UK, with support from the Movember Foundation.

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 ground breaking projects such as this, with the UK’s top research scientists, we hope to be able to drive for ward 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. “

Professor Gwyn T Williams, lead researcher at Keele University, has received £49,839 to explore whether manipulating a key molecule involved in prostate cancer can have an affect on tumour growth. Professor Williams said: “We are going to use this generous grant from Prostate Cancer UK to explore the importance of a newly discovered molecule – GAS5 – in the development of advanced prostate cancer. This molecule normally acts to prevent inappropriate and harmful cell development and has been found to be lacking in prostate cancer cells which are resistant to hormone therapy. If we can understand more about how important the loss of this molecule is, we may be able to in time develop a new therapy to treat prostate cancer once it has reached this advanced stage.”

The grants were awarded via a competitive process, and were subject to detailed assessment from external peer reviewers and the Prostate Cancer UK Research Advisory Committee. A panel of people affected by prostate cancer was also established to help guide the decision making around which grants to award.  All 12of the projects which are to receive funding were chosen because of their extremely high quality and relevance to men with prostate cancer.

Notes to Editors

Men United – The Facts:
• Men United v Prostate Cancer is our call for men to join together in a movement against the common enemy of prostate cancer. The aim is to build a united front of men against this disease. We want to get the message out about one of the UK’s biggest man killers, support men affected by it, and intensify the search for more reliable tests and treatments for the future.

• Men are being asked to sign for Men United by visiting where they can also test their health knowledge by taking a quick quiz.

• The core audience is men over 45 who urgently need to know about this disease, and to do something about it. Men United is not exclusively for men. This is a movement for men, but women will be critical supporters and activists within it. But, the core idea is that men are very consciously facing their health and banding together to right a wrong.

• Whether they’ve been diagnosed or are simply concerned about prostate cancer, men can find out about the disease at

About Prostate Cancer UK
• Prostate Cancer UK fights to help more men survive prostate cancer and enjoy a better quality of life. We support men and provide vital information. We find answers by funding research into causes and treatments. And we lead change, raising the profile of the disease and improving care. We believe that men deserve better.

• Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in men in the UK. Over 40,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year. Every hour 1 man dies from prostate cancer. One in four Black men will develop prostate cancer at some point in their lives.

• Anyone with concerns about prostate cancer can call Prostate Cancer UK's confidential Helpline on 0800 074 8383 or visit The helpline is free to landlines, staffed by specialist nurses, and open from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday with late opening until 8pm on Wednesdays.