Can changes in lifestyle that modify the immune system slow the progression of prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is the most prevalent cancer diagnosed in men across Europe and northern America. In many men the cancer is slow-growing and not life-threatening but in a few the disease progresses rapidly with few effective treatment options and as a consequence poor prognosis. The prevalence of, and mortality from, prostate cancer is much lower in many parts of the world, such as Japan, and epidemiological studies strongly indicate that this is due to effects of lifestyle on the progression of the cancer. In the last two years there has been a breakthrough in the development of cancer immunotherapy’s that have produced dramatic results in clinical trials for a range of cancers. It is well known that the immune system is affected by lifestyle but it is not known whether such effects on the immune system contribute to the effects of lifestyle on cancer progression. This project will use prostate cancer cell lines to examine whether altered metabolic conditions and metabolic mediators (that are modified by lifestyle) affect the secretion of immune-system regulators. The student will also investigate lifestyle-immune system interactions in large populations of men. Men with large differences in lifestyle will be compared to see whether the immune regulators that may affect cancer progression differ according to lifestyle. In addition men with prostate cancer will be examined to see whether there are associations between the natural variations in the immune system and disease progression. These studies could identify novel means whereby prostate cancer progression can be delayed by changes in lifestyle and new therapeutic targets.
When applying please select ’Medicine PhD’ within the Faculty of Health Sciences.