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10th October 2021 Latest News

Stopping a Protein That Drives Lethal Prostate Cancer

Luke Selth and research team

New class of drugs show promise in stopping cancer growth

Associate Professor Luke Selth and his research team at Flinders University have identified a protein called CDK9 that they believe drives the growth and spread of prostate cancer to other parts of the body.

With this target now discovered, they have been testing the efficacy of a new class of drugs called CDK9 inhibitors, in the hope the inhibitors show promise in stopping the cancer in its tracks.

“This has included testing the drugs in new prostate cancer models generated directly from patient metastatic tumours (tumours that have spread),” A/Prof Selth said.

“These new models are the gold-standard for evaluating new therapies.

“Our results suggest that CDK9 inhibitors have potent anti-cancer efficacy in prostate cancer, including aggressive and lethal prostate cancer subtypes that are resistant to existing hormonal therapies and chemotherapy.

“The next step is to better understand how CDK9 inhibitors work.

“Our preliminary investigations show that they can both block the growth of and kill prostate cancer cells, and we will attempt to determine exactly how this is happening.”

This could not have progressed without the support of our kind donor community.

More Funding Secured thanks to APC Support

The grant provided by APC to A/Prof Selth to make these discoveries has now also helped his team secure even more funding to take the research further!

“We’re very grateful to the donors who have supported our research, which has not only helped us reach this stage but helped us to leverage more funding,” A/Prof Selth said.

“Metastatic prostate cancer kills more than 3000 Australians each year. We are very hopeful this research will conclusively determine whether CDK9 inhibitors can effectively stop the growth of lethal forms of prostate cancer.

“If the findings are positive, in the longer term we want to take these inhibitors into clinical trials and eventually help save the lives of men with this common disease.”

We look forward to keeping you updated on this exciting work!