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Funding supports expanded prostate cancer research


St. John’s, NL – Dr. Ken Kao and his team at Memorial University of Newfoundland have made an important discovery that could lead to better detection and treatment methods for those diagnosed with prostate cancer. A new project will now allow the researchers to further explore the results.

Newfoundland Crown corporation Research & Development Corporation (RDC) has announced $90,247 funding for the two-year project, with an additional $147,637 from Canadian Institute for Health Research, the Genesis Group, Memorial University, and funds from the Motorcycle Ride for Dad – Avalon Chapter administered through the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Care Foundation.

Dr. Kao is a professor of oncology in the Division of Biomedical Sciences in Memorial’s Faculty of Medicine. He and his team have discovered that the protein called Pygopus is highly active and concentrated in prostate cancer cells. This discovery is important, as Pygopus is generally not found in normal prostate cells or benign tumours.

“We will be able to make significant progress with this research funding, which will build on our original findings,” said Dr. Kao. “Right now, when a diagnosis is made it’s often not known how the tumour will progress. By understanding how active and concentrated Pygopus is in prostate cancer cells, we can strengthen a diagnosis.”