Prostate cancer protein discovered by scientists could lead to new tests and treatments The protein is found in aggressive forms of the cancerScientist believe they can use the protein as a marker, providing a potential new target for drug treatment
23:10 GMT, 29 May 2012
A prostate cancer protein has been identified that could lead to new diagnostic tests and treatments.
The protein is made by the PRKCZ gene, which has previously been shown to play a role in aggressive prostate cancer.
Scientists found that one version of the gene produced a protein only made in prostate cancer cells.
Discovery: The protein is made by the PRKCZ gene, which has previously been shown to play a role in aggressive prostate cancer
They believe it could be used as a disease marker, and provide a potential new target for drug treatment.
Professor Chris Foster, from the University of Liverpool, said: 'We've identified a sequence of the PRKCZ gene in prostate cancer cells that is expressed independently from the normal version, and the protein produced by this gene contains a unique active region.
'We now need to discover what role this protein is playing in prostate cancer. If it encourages aggressiveness in the disease then we may be able to develop new drugs that reduce its effects.'
The study is published today in the British Journal of Cancer.
Each year, around 40,800 men in the UK are diagnosed with prostate cancer and 10,700 die from the disease.
Breakthrough: Scientists believe the protein can be used as a marker, providing a potential new target for drug treatment
Dr Julie Sharp, from the charity Cancer Research UK which owns the British Journal of Cancer, said: 'With more than 40,000 men now diagnosed each year with the disease there's an urgent need to develop tests that tell us how the disease is behaving.
'This research opens a new window on the disease and suggests that versions of this PRKCZ gene could be playing an important role.
'This study highlights how genetically complex cancers are and shows we need to understand and use this knowledge to treat them successfully.'