Mechanistic approaches to androgen-independent prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the main form of cancer affecting men in the western world. Because cellular mutations within the prostate are regulated in part by androgens (male sex hormones), treatment of prostate cancer usually involves starving the prostate of androgens. While this therapy initially stops cancer progression, over time, the cancer continues to progress. Jennifer Locke is researching why prostate cancer progresses despite the apparent lack of androgens during treatment for the disease. Jennifer is testing the hypothesis that new androgens are produced within the prostate during androgen-deprivation therapy, causing the cancer to reoccur. Using molecular and analytical techniques, she is investigating androgen synthesis pathways. This research could enable identification and evaluation of inhibitors of these pathways, which may lead to new therapeutic options. Her ultimate goal is to improve treatment outcomes and quality of life for prostate cancer patients.