Identification and characterization of proteins that interact with the androgen receptor to modulate its activity

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men. Advanced prostate cancer is often treated with androgen withdrawal therapy, which blocks the growth-promoting effects of androgens (such as testosterone). Unfortunately, while this treatment is initially effective in reducing prostate growth, the usual outcome is an untreatable, androgen-independent form of cancer, where the prostate gland grows without androgens. Latif Wafa is investigating how this change to androgen-independent growth occurs. He is focusing on the process in which androgen binds to a receptor that is essential to prostate growth and death. The receptor is believed to continue to have a role in prostate growth even when androgens are blocked. Latif is looking for possible genetic alterations to the receptors, as well as potential changes to other proteins that also interact with the receptors. Ultimately, he hopes to identify new molecular targets to block prostate growth in advanced cancer.