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Docent Leena Latonen awarded Finnish Cancer Institute funding to study treatment resistance in prostate cancer

Foundation for the Finnish Cancer Institute has awarded the esteemed K. Albin Johansson Cancer Research Fellowship to docent Leena Latonen. The fellowship is for three years and awarded to study treatment resistance in prostate cancer.

Latonen is a senior researcher at the Institute of Biomedicine. She leads the Cancer Stress Biology research group studying molecular, cellular and tissue mechanisms that contribute to the ability of cancer cells to tolerate stress and enables them to form resistance to drugs. The group also studies cancer growth patterns in tissue and explores new ways to identify early cancer alterations. The research aims at developing better diagnostic tools and novel cancer treatments.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in males in Western countries. In Finland, 5000 are diagnosed with prostate cancer annually. Although the majority of prostate cancers are indolent or can be cured, 10-15% of cancers progress and eventually become treatment resistant. Currently, there is no curative treatments available for these so called castration resistant prostate cancers. Men with such progressed, metastatic prostate cancer have life expectancy of 2-3 years, and approximately 800 men die of prostate cancer in Finland annually.

Latonen has found previously unknown molecular alterations from tumours of patients with castration resistant prostate cancers and identified two gene products central to these. These alterations in the RNA regulation pathways increase the stress tolerance of the cells and are suspected to participate in formation of treatment resistance. The funded project examines the molecular mechanisms of these alterations and tests their inhibition as a potential cancer treatment for the future.

For further information, please contact:

Leena Latonen, tel. 050 576 7822