Astellas European Foundation award winners identify key prostate cancer genes

Astellas European Foundation award winners identify key prostate cancer genes

  PR Newswire

  CHERTSEY, England, August 19, 2013

CHERTSEY, England, August 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

   Institut Bergonié researchers identify six genes with potential to play
         significant role in fight against high grade form of disease

Just four years after receiving an Astellas European Foundation Urology Prize
Fund Award, researchers at France's Institut Bergonié have achieved their goal
of identifying new gene targets that could be used for the development of
alternative strategies to treat prostate cancer. Focusing on the difficult to
treat 'high grade' form of the cancer, the team received the award to support
work which they hope will pave the way for novel therapies to tackle the
disease. By identifying correlations between gene expression and cellular
response to different drugs, the researchers - led by Dr Nadine Houédé - were
able to establish that six genes may have an important role to play in the
sensitivity of high grade prostate tumours to anti-cancer drugs from the
platinum derivatives family.

Many other correlations were also identified and are awaiting further
validation in prostate cancer cell lines models in order to envisage their
potential use in the clinic.

"With the help of the Astellas European Foundation Urology Grant 2012, it was
possible for us to obtain a proof of concept that it is possible to identify
new alternatives to existing treatments for high grade prostate cancers based
on the specific genetic background of these highly aggressive tumours.
Moreover our results may contribute to a better understanding of the mechanism
of action of anti-cancer drugs and to the development of more efficient
therapies. Our team's results were published in the December issue of
Molecular Pharmacology. We finally were able to bring the proof of concept
that this is a rational approach that could predict cell response to drugs
based on the expression levels of genes that are characteristic from the
tumour type studied," said Phillipe Pourquier, co-investigator at INSERM,

"High grade prostate cancer is a devastating condition for which new treatment
options are urgently needed", said Ken Jones, Trustee of the Astellas European
Foundation and President and CEO of Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd. "We are
delighted that Dr Houédé and her team have been able to achieve their goal of
identifying key genes in this very important area. This type of scientific
research is absolutely vital to the development of new approaches to treating
cancers, and enabling scientists from across Europe to make progress in this
work is exactly what the Awards were set up to do."

The Astellas European Foundation now offers annual Grants of $150,000 for
Uro-Oncology, to be given in autumn this year, and for Functional Urology and
Uro-Gynaecology given during the EAU congress in the spring. The grants of
US$150,000 are available to a successful research unit or institution. For
further information please contact or call +44-203 379 8039.

Notes to Editors

About The Astellas European Foundation

The Astellas European Foundation is a registered charity, formed in 2005, with
the long-term goal of providing support for programmes and activities that
contribute to the advancement of an increasingly healthy society. In line with
this aim, the Foundation made substantial donations to global charities. The
Astellas European Foundation also supports Astellas employees in their private
fundraising efforts for charitable causes. The Astellas European Foundation is
registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales, number 1036344.

The Astellas European Foundation was established by funding from Astellas
Pharma Inc, but operates independently of it.


July 2013

Contact: For further information, please contact: Joe Barker, Astellas
European Foundation, Tel: +44 (0) 203 379 8039, Email:
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