Researchers Discover Protein In Prostate Cancer Cells that Could Help to Determine The Most Suitable Treatment

January 19, 2013 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer News

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Researchers working at Memorial University in St. Johns at Newfoundland and Labrador (in Canada) have discovered a protein known as ‘pygopus’ which is abundant in aggressive tumors and scared in healthy cells.

This protein’s discovery can help doctors and patients to determine how aggressive the tumor is and whether to pursue an aggressive treatment procedure or not.

John Toms (a radiation oncologist) and Kenneth Kao (an oncology professor) are leading a team of other researchers on this study which is sponsored by Memorial, the provincial government and the Canadian Institute for Health Research. Already, about $250,000 has been provided received for the research which is expected to take two more years.

Excerpts published online in CBC News – Newfoundland and Labrador January 18, 2013 reveal some more details about the new research. The following facts were highlighted in the publication:

Toms and Kao believe the protein’s presence may help doctors determine if a cancer is going to grow quickly or not.

“It will allow us to more effectively triage patients,” said Toms. “To either less aggressive or more aggressive treatment, and to be more effective at improving clinical outcomes.”

About 500 men in Newfoundland and Labrador will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year. Prostate cancer is difficult to treat, because it’s challenging for doctors to determine how quickly prostate tumours will grow.

“We do potentially overtreat some patients and some patients we don’t treat aggressively enough,” said Toms. “We do still see failures.”

Memorial University researchers Kenneth Kao and John Toms have received a grant to extend their prostate cancer research for two more years.

Memorial University researchers Kenneth Kao and John Toms have received a grant to extend their prostate cancer research for two more years. (credit:

Kao said understanding the role of the pygopus protein could possibly lead to a treatment in the future.

“Not only is it found at higher levels in tumour cells but when we remove it from the prostate tumour cells, the tumours stop growing,” said Kao.

Conclusively, this research is quite interesting and it sure can help doctors and patients to find out how aggressive the tumor is and how to treat it. Although the research is at earl stage, it could still help doctors and scientists to look more deeply into the characteristics of the protein pygopus.

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