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Prostate cancer ‘Rosetta stone’ paves way to new therapies

— almost 90% of metastatic prostate cancers have treatable defects —

A cancer genome sequencing study published last week in the prestigious journal Cell provides new and surprising information about metastatic prostate cancer that has become castration-resistant.

An international consortium of scientists pieced together the first comprehensive map of genetic mutations linked to metastatic prostate cancer from 150 patients and found that almost 90% of the men whose DNA they studied carried potentially treatable defects.

The findings suggest that these advanced cancers may be treated using a precision medicine approach, using a range of medicines that target specific gene mutations. Many of these medicines are already in use or undergoing clinical trials. They also learned that 8% of the men were born with genetic faults that predisposed them to prostate cancer, strengthening the case for screening people with a family history of the disease.

This research is groundbreaking because it provides solid evidence that there may be effective new treatment options for those with advanced prostate cancer who have become resistant to current therapies.

Click to read the original article abstract (you’ll need a subscription to read the entire manuscript).

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Post-Doctoral Fellow Dr. Lian Willetts shines light on the frontiers of discovery

Dr. Lian Willetts was awarded 2nd place in the Falling Walls Lab Finale in Berlin representing Dr. John Lewis’ lab by presenting: “Breaking the Walls of Prostate Cancer Metastasis”

Lab Falling Walls is an international competition that challenges graduate students to showcase how their research is redefining their respective fields and breaking down the walls to the next major scientific breakthrough. The University of Alberta is one of 20 approved international events, and the Sept. 30 event saw 16 outstanding examples of graduate research. Dr. Willetts was awarded 1st place during this night.

International Labs and the Finale in Berlin

Falling Walls Lab is a global scale event that takes place in different vibrant cities around the world throughout the year. The Falling Walls Lab Finale is held each year in Berlin on 8 November. The Finale gathers 100 participants, among them all winners of the international Labs.

- Catalina Vasquez