Professor Ian Mills, from the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences, first began researching prostate cancer in 2003. 'I'm a molecular biologist, so my entry point to the disease was a protein called the androgen receptor,' explains the John Black Associate Professor of Prostate Cancer. Androgen receptors work by binding to testosterone and steroid hormones, which are both regulators of prostate development and prostate progression in men.
In the years that followed, the genomics revolution has made it possible for researchers to map this process in unprecedented detail. The findings have had a significant impact upon the development of targeted hormone treatments, and much work is now being undertaken to increase their efficacy – often by combining clinically proven drugs with other forms of treatment, such as radiation or immunotherapy.