Astellas European Foundation

Astellas European Foundation award winners identify key prostate cancer genes

Chertsey, England (ots/PRNewswire) - Institut Bergonié researchers identify six genes with potential to play

significant role in fight against high grade form of disease

Just four years after receiving an Astellas European Foundation Urology Prize Fund Award, researchers at France's Institut Bergonié have achieved their goal of identifying new gene targets that could be used for the development of alternative strategies to treat prostate cancer. Focusing on the difficult to treat 'high grade' form of the cancer, the team received the award to support work which they hope will pave the way for novel therapies to tackle the disease. By identifying correlations between gene expression and cellular response to different drugs, the researchers - led by Dr Nadine Houédé - were able to establish that six genes may have an important role to play in the sensitivity of high grade prostate tumours to anti-cancer drugs from the platinum derivatives family.

Many other correlations were also identified and are awaiting further validation in prostate cancer cell lines models in order to envisage their potential use in the clinic.

"With the help of the Astellas European Foundation Urology Grant 2012, it was possible for us to obtain a proof of concept that it is possible to identify new alternatives to existing treatments for high grade prostate cancers based on the specific genetic background of these highly aggressive tumours. Moreover our results may contribute to a better understanding of the mechanism of action of anti-cancer drugs and to the development of more efficient therapies. Our team's results were published in the December issue of Molecular Pharmacology. We finally were able to bring the proof of concept that this is a rational approach that could predict cell response to drugs based on the expression levels of genes that are characteristic from the tumour type studied," said Phillipe Pourquier, co-investigator at INSERM, France.

"High grade prostate cancer is a devastating condition for which new treatment options are urgently needed", said Ken Jones, Trustee of the Astellas European Foundation and President and CEO of Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd. "We are delighted that Dr Houédé and her team have been able to achieve their goal of identifying key genes in this very important area. This type of scientific research is absolutely vital to the development of new approaches to treating cancers, and enabling scientists from across Europe to make progress in this work is exactly what the Awards were set up to do."

The Astellas European Foundation now offers annual Grants of $150,000 for Uro-Oncology, to be given in autumn this year, and for Functional Urology and Uro-Gynaecology given during the EAU congress in the spring. The grants of US$150,000 are available to a successful research unit or institution. For further information please contact or call +44-203 379 8039.

Notes to Editors

About The Astellas European Foundation

The Astellas European Foundation is a registered charity, formed in 2005, with the long-term goal of providing support for programmes and activities that contribute to the advancement of an increasingly healthy society. In line with this aim, the Foundation made substantial donations to global charities. The Astellas European Foundation also supports Astellas employees in their private fundraising efforts for charitable causes. The Astellas European Foundation is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales, number 1036344.

The Astellas European Foundation was established by funding from Astellas Pharma Inc, but operates independently of it.


July 2013


For further information, please contact:
Joe Barker, Astellas European Foundation,
Tel: +44 (0) 203 379 8039, Email:

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