Project Title: Pre-clinical evaluation of Oct-1002 to control prostate cancer malignant progression Supervisors: Jenny Worthington, Paul Thompson Contact Details: Jenny Worthington Paul Thompson Transcriptional Regulation & Epigenetics Group School of Biomedical Sciences University of Ulster, Coleraine Level: PhD Background to the project: Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is commonly used to treat locally advanced prostate cancer
and although this treatment is initially successful, after a median of around 18 months a castrate
resistant, more aggressive form of the disease emerges (CRPC).
We and others have identified increased tumour hypoxia in LNCaP prostate cancer
xenografts following treatment with ADT (Ming et al., 2012). Hypoxia is a common feature of solid
tumours and drives malignant progression. Prostate tumours show very low median oxygen levels
i.e.0.3 – 0.8% pO2 (2.4-6.8mmHg) (Movsas et al., 2001); this is extremely important since increased
levels of hypoxia correlate with clinical staging and biochemical failure after radiotherapy. Additionally
there is growing clinical evidence that hypoxia is a key driver of malignant progression in prostate
cancer (Milosevic et al., 2012; Turkada et al., 2012). Hypoxia is thought to cause malignant
progression through selection for hypoxia-tolerant stress-resistant cells; in addition to showing a more
malignant phenotype, these cells frequently have an enhanced ability to metastasise. It therefore
makes sense to target tumour hypoxia as a strategy to increase the efficacy of ADT.
We have previously used the bioreductive drug AQ4N in combination with ADT and identified
increased primary tumour control and a reduction in lung metastases using LNCaP tumours (Ming et al., 2012). These experiments provided ‘proof-of-principle’ that bioreductive drugs can play a role in
prostate cancer treatment when used in combination with other chemotherapeutics.
For this study we will use the novel bio-reductive drug Oct-1002 in combination with ADT for
treatment of androgen-sensitive tumours and with docetaxel for treatment of castrate-resistant
prostate cancer. We will also use vitamin D analogues to increase cytochrome levels within the
tumours (Dr Thompsons group have identified increases in CYP 3A4 and 3A5 using this approach in
vitro (Maguire et al., 2012). As these cytochromes are known to metabolise Oct-1002, this will
increase metabolism of the bioreductive drug and increase associated cytotoxicity. Proof-of-principle
of increasing bioreductive drug efficacy by increasing cytochrome expression has already been
established (McCarthy et al., 2003). We will assess any therapeutic gain from this approach in vitroMethods to be used: Cell culture
Initially the efficacy of Oct-1002 will be assessed in vitro using the spheroid model which contains a
hypoxia core – this will give us a biologically relevant model to work with. Cell viability, clonogenicity
invasion and migration will be measured following treatment with Oct-1002 and in combination (with
bicalutamide for LNCaP and docetaxel for PC3).
In vivo analysis
Tumour growth and metastases will be measured following in vivo treatment of animals bearing either
LNCaP or PC3 tumours. Combination studies detailed above will also be carried out.
RNA and protein will be extracted from Vitamin D analogue treated cells/tumours and the expression
of CYP 3A4 and 3A5 measured using RT-Q-PCR and western blotting. Luciferase assays will also be
employed to measure activity of liganded vitamin d receptor in the presence of the drugs used in this
Objectives of the research:
a) Assess Oct-1002 efficacy in vitro and in vivo in androgen sensitive prostate cancer. b) Assess Oct-1002 efficacy in vitro and in vivo in castrate resistant prostate cancer. c) Use vitamin D analogues to manipulate cytochrome levels in prostate cancer cells d) Establish therapeutic gain of manipulating cytochrome P450 levels in Oct-1002 treated
Skills required of applicant:
• Good Laboratory skills • Good oral and written presentation skills • Good critical thinking and analytical skills • Good IT skills • Good work ethic and ability to work independently
A novel AKT inhibitor for prostate cancer.
• Development and characterisation of prostate cancer spheroids.
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