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A GROUNDBREAKING research unit at the University of York has been awarded a £190,000 grant made possible by the Movember fundraising drive.

Prostate Cancer UK has given the grant to the Yorkshire Cancer Research Unit to drive forward understanding of how to treat advanced prostate cancer.

Professor Norman Maitland, director of the Yorkshire Cancer Research Unit, based in the Department of Biology, has received the grant to explore whether altering the behaviour of a certain gene in the prostate could help identify therapeutic targets which can stop prostate cancer spreading.

Professor Maitland said: “With this generous grant from Prostate Cancer UK we want to find out exactly how a gene called latexin works in prostate tissues.

“My recent research has already shown that this gene has a strong effect on the fate of the cells which cause the tumour to develop. If we can find a way to increase its activity, in turn reducing the growth of tumours, this may lead to a new focus for the development of treatments for advanced prostate cancer.”

The YCR unit at the university also annually receives funding from the R U Taking The P race, which has raised more than £46,645 over the past four years.

Dr Iain Frame, director of research at Prostate Cancer UK said: “Each year almost as many men are diagnosed with prostate cancer as women are diagnosed with breast cancer. But research into prostate cancer is badly underfunded, leaving tests and treatments trailing behind other common cancers.

“Thanks to the support of the Movember Foundation, we have been able to rapidly accelerate our mission to find the answers to the many questions which still surround prostate cancer.”

The causes of prostate cancer are largely unknown and the chances of developing it increase as you get older. Most cases develop in men aged 50 or older