Scientists at the University of East Anglia are set to play a major role in attempts to develop a new treatment for the most common cancer among men.

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Prostate Cancer UK has awarded a grant worth £250,000 as part of the first wave of funding for its ambitious new research strategy.

The money will be used to help find answers to some of the most important challenges surrounding treatment of the disease.

Iain Frame, director of research at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “Due to a long legacy of under-funding and neglect we still know shockingly little about why prostate cancer kills 10,000 men every year. Prostate Cancer UK has vowed to scale up its mission to deliver so much more and so much better for men. By funding ground-breaking projects such as this with the UK’s top research scientists we hope to be able to find the answers we so desperately need for the future.”

The UEA’s research team will be led by the Norwich Medical School’s Colin Cooper, chair in cancer genetics, and honorary senior lecturer Dmitry.

Prof Cooper said they were focused on helping more men affected by the disease to survive longer.

He said: “The chemotherapy drug docetaxel is one of the last options available to men with advanced prostate cancer, but unfortunately it often stops being effective after only a few months. We hope that, with this generous grant from Prostate Cancer UK, we can develop a new way to target the chemotherapy to the cancer cells and deliver a more effective treatment so that more men can survive longer in the future.”

A total of 17 projects have received grants as part of this wave of Prostate Cancer UK funding and the charity plans to put £11m into research this year alone to improve diagnosis and treatment options and better understand risks associated with the disease.

Dr Frame said the Movember Foundation, which was strongly supported across Norfolk, had helped to triple the among of money Prostate Cancer UK had to spend on research to £25m over the next three years.

But he added: “While this provides a fantastic launch pad, we desperately need more money to crack this disease once and for all. Through our recently-launched Sledgehammer Fund we are calling on everyone across the country to get behind men and help us in this mission.

The grants were awarded via a competitive process, and were subject to detailed assessment from external peer reviewers and the Prostate Cancer UK Research Advisory Committee. All 17 of the projects which are to receive funding were chosen because of their extremely high quality and relevance to men with prostate cancer.

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