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Introduction to Our Research

The Prostate Project funds The Prostate Project Foundation  which gives financial support to the Oncology team in the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences (FHMS) at the University of Surrey. In fact the charity was pivotal in the creation of this group providing 50% of the start-up funding. The team has 24 members with an extensive range of experience, from laboratory-based projects involving basic cell and molecular biology to the delivery of clinical trials in human cancers. The group is supported by the infrastructure required to undertake complex, multi-disciplinary studies. A particular strength of the team, which other cancer research centres find difficult to access, is the acquisition of patient samples (after suitable ethical approval) and this is partly due to the strong links and close collaborative relationships between clinicians and scientists with the local Royal Surrey County Hospital, and the neighbouring St Luke’s Cancer Centre and the Surrey Clinical Research Centre (CRC).

Professor Hardev Pandha, Trustee and Professor of Medical Oncology, specialises in targeted cancer therapy and how to use the body’s immune system to target prostate cancer.  Here he explains what advanced prostate cancer is, and that although many great strides have been made with early detected prostate cancer  (almost 100% survival rates after 5 years), only minimal progress has been made in treatments for advanced prostate cancer.

The internationally acclaimed group is led by Professor Hardev Pandha who is also a Trustee of our charity. The group are conducting cutting edge research into targeted therapies for cancer, diagnostic biomarkers to detect prostate cancer from patient urine and also biomarkers which will aid diagnosis and prognosis of cancer.

The group has an established track record for the supervision of MD and PhD students and has published an impressive 110 original peer reviewed papers since arriving at Surrey. The group has an active portfolio of phase I, II and III trials in new cancer therapies (small molecule inhibitors, cancer vaccine, viral and gene therapy).

 Dr Nicola Annels explains why our cancer research team need state of the art equipment to support their innovative, ground- breaking research into advanced prostate cancer.  They are focusing on developing new and better targeted treatments to help keep advanced prostate cancer under control, manage symptoms, and ultimately extend the lives of our fathers, sons, brothers and friends who have advanced prostate cancer.

Key Achievements

  • Development of a unique diagnostic urine test (EN2) for prostate cancer, the first breakthrough since the PSA test 30 years ago.  Two commercial diagnostic companies have taken licenses
  • EN2 has also been identified as a potential immunotherapeutic drug target on cancer cells, allowing the immune system to target just the cancer cells, leaving the healthy cells unharmed
  • Identification and development of HXR9 as a novel targeted cancer drug, which can be injected into the tumour or taken as a tablet treatment. The cancer cells are targeted and causes them to self destruct.  A spin-off company has been established, HOX Therapeutics Ltd, which will continue to study HXR9 and carry out first in-man clinical trials.
  • Development of  a novel peptide agent, HWFT, to enhance cancer vaccine efficacy
  • One of 3 pioneering centres in the UK to use live viruses to treat cancer
  • The group has been instrumental in bringing immune-based treatments to the clinic, initially with cancer vaccines, but now with agents including live viruses which destroy cancer cells and alert the immune system to destroy the cancer
  • Establishment of the SUN study – a bio-repository and accompanying ‘database’ of 450 patients with all stages of prostate cancer.  This allows access and participation in the worldwide consortium, ‘PRACTICAL’, a study of prostate cancer involving 800,000 men
  • Clinical Trials involving cutting edge new agents
  • 160 publication in peer reviewed journals (including ‘Nature’) and a new text book ‘Viral Therapy of Cancer’
  • Practice changing discovery that for patients with locoregional renal-cell carcinoma at high risk for tumour recurrence after nephrectomy who received adjuvant treatment with Sunitinib (a targeted cancer treatment) had a longer duration of disease-free survival than did those receiving placebo
  • National and international collaborations – University of California, Cornell Medical School, University of Leeds, Mayo Clinic, Royal Marsden London, and others
  • 5 Patents filed

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Trusted Partners

We collaborate with local and national businesses, the Royal Surrey County Hospital, Frimley Park Hospital and University of Surrey to give every man a better chance of beating prostate cancer.

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