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Our research into prostate cancer

Our research is helping men with prostate cancer live longer. We discovered the drug abiraterone and are developing new ways of treating and diagnosing prostate cancer - including genetic testing and new forms of radiotherapy. 

Our Movember Centre of Excellence brings together leading researchers to improve outcomes for men with prostate cancer. 

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Meet our researchers

Our progress against prostate cancer

Abiraterone

We discovered the drug abiraterone (Zytiga) – now a mainstay of treatment for advanced prostate cancer across the world. Along with our partner hospital The Royal Marsden, we ran clinical trials to establish its effectiveness, both post-chemotherapy and earlier during treatment. Professor Nick James led the ground-breaking STAMPEDE trial, which showed that offering abiraterone earlier can boost survival.

In the last six years, there’s been a lot more hope – and that’s what abiraterone has given me.

- Rob Lester. Read Rob's story

Patient advocate Rob Lester and dog

Precision medicine

Precision medicine gives patients the best treatments according to the genetic profile of their cancer. One recent example of this is the drug olaparib, currently used to treat ovarian cancer, thanks to our scientists who played a major role in developing olaparib.

But further trials led by Professor Johann de Bono have shown that olaparib could also work in prostate cancer, for men whose tumours have mutations in specific genes.

Clinical trials

Professor Johann de Bono and Professor Nick James are leading clinical trials of new prostate cancer treatments.

Our researchers, in partnership with The Royal Marsden, have also worked on trials of enzalutamide (Xtandi) and radium-223 (Xofigo), as well as in ongoing trials of experimental prostate cancer drugs.

Genetic testing

Professor Ros Eeles analyses the DNA of men with and without prostate cancer to try to find genetic clues about the disease. Her team has found around 100 genetic factors that influence a man’s chance of developing prostate cancer, or developing a more aggressive form. 

These differences in DNA give researchers clues about the disease’s biology that could lead to new treatments, as well as helping identify who has a genetic predisposition to prostate cancer. 

Radiotherapy

We are a pioneer in developing new forms of radiotherapy for prostate cancer treatment. An example of our success in radiotherapy research is the CHHiP trial, which showed that fewer, larger doses of radiotherapy were just as effective as the standard regime. 

This led to changes in clinical guidance, which are now sparing patients the inconvenience of unnecessary hospital appointments and reducing the rate of side-effects.

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As a UK charity, our life-saving research relies on the generosity of individuals and organisations. Our supporters help us make a difference to the lives of cancer patients and their families everywhere.

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Latest news on prostate cancer

Meet our researchers

Professor Johann de Bono

Johann de Bono’s team runs one of the world’s largest phase I clinical trials units for cancer. He also runs a separate team focused on improving prostate cancer care.

Professor Johann de Bono

Professor Ros Eeles

Ros Eeles’ team is researching genetics that increase the risk of developing prostate cancer. She is currently leading a clinical trial on whether screening could lead to earlier diagnosis.

Professor Ros Eeles

Professor Nicholas James

Nicholas James is a clinical academic who seeks to improve patient outcomes via large scale clinical trials. His work focuses on bladder and prostate cancer.

Professor Nicholas James

Professor Emma Hall

Emma Hall's research is centred on improving treatment for urological, and head and neck cancers. She is also interested in management of prostate and bladder cancers.

Professor Emma Hall