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Investigating resistance to PI3K pathway inhibitors to combat castration-resistant prostate cancer

Exploring a new avenue of treatment for late-stage prostate cancer.

Primary prostate cancer organoid
A primary prostate cancer organoid


While the outcome for men diagnosed with prostate cancer confined to the prostate is generally very good, patients with late-stage prostate cancer have a worse prognosis, which reflects a poor response to hormone-based therapies. Thus, there is a clinical unmet need to identify new therapeutic approaches to treat patients with prostate cancer that have become resistant to standard therapies.


This project explores a new avenue of treatment for late-stage prostate cancer that enhances our ability to switch off the PI3K pathway, a set of signals that instruct prostate cells to grow uncontrollably when resistance to hormone-based therapies occurs.

We also hope to learn more about:

  • the therapeutic benefit of targeting the PI3K pathway at multiple nodes for the treatment of prostate cancer
  • which patients are likely to respond to this treatment by identifying biomarkers that can predict for response, to better tailor treatments for individual patients
  • how prostate cancer cells and the surrounding tumour microenvironment communicate to evade treatment.


This project is funded by Cancer Research UK (CRUK) career development fellowship to the total of £1.5 million.


Members of the Prostate Cancer Translational Research Lab based at European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute (ECSCRI) involved:

Dr Helen Pearson

Dr Helen Pearson

Senior Lecturer in Prostate Cancer

Dr Daniel Turnham

Dr Daniel Turnham

Research Associate


Miss Sarah Perry

Miss Jasmine Owen


  • Prof Wayne Phillips (Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Australia)
  • Prof Johann de Bono (Institute of cancer research, Royal Marsden, Surrey, UK)
  • Prof Gail Risbridger (Monash University, Melbourne Australia)
  • Prof Owen Sansom (CRUK Beatson Institute, Glasgow, UK)
  • Dr Simon Barry (Astrazeneca)