Run for the Future praised for helping Bristol Urological Institute's prostate cancer research

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Research into prostate cancer at Southmead Hospital's Bristol Urological Institute has benefited from a fundraising run in the city.

Professors from Bristol University and University of the West of England, involved in research led by a team of specialists at BUI, have paid tribute to the efforts of the Bristol public in supporting Run for the Future over the last eight years.

The event, which supports the work of the Bristol Urological Institute to identify the most aggressive forms of the disease and the men most at risk, is run by Rotarians in the city and has raised more than £250,000 since it was launched.

The money raised has been used to better understand the mechanisms by which cancer cells grow and identify the most appropriate molecular techniques to use to study prostate cancer expression.

Prof Anthony Rhodes of the University of the West of England said: “Money raised by Run for the Future has supported important research at UWE into ways of identifying aggressive forms of prostate cancer. 

“In particular it has enabled UWE researchers to show that a specific gene, called ERG, which is present in approximately 50 per cent of all prostate cancers, is significantly associated with worse outcome.

“In the future this may be used to help identify those patients with the most aggressive forms of prostate cancer that require radical treatment.”

Professor Norman Ratcliffe, also of UWE, added: “We used the money to carry out ground breaking research into rapid prostate and bladder cancer detection at The University of the West of England and Bristol University. Following on from work using sniffer dogs noses to detect such cancers in urine samples as an alternative to the traditional PSA blood test, we have now developed an electronic nose device which is comparable to the high sensitivity of the dogs in detecting these cancers.”  

Professor Chris Melhuish and David Lennard of the Bristol Robotics Lab, UWE & University of Bristol said funding had also been invaluable in pushing forward the technology of minimally invasive surgical instruments in prostate cancer treatment.

“The funding has been targeted at helping to develop a new generation of minimally invasive surgical instruments with increased dexterity and natural interfaces and novel surgeon’s console for controlling these instruments.”

Professor Jeff Holly, of the University of Bristol also thanked supporters for funding new equipment which detects and counts cancer cells in blood samples taken from patients.

He concluded: “This could enable more appropriate treatments to be started earlier to deal with a spreading cancer. This technique will also enable us to obtain cancer cells more frequently from patients in a relatively non-invasive manner with a simple blood sample.

“We hope that this will help us to better characterise the cancer and how it responds to treatments enabling us to tailor therapies accordingly.”

This year’s 5k Run for the Future fun run will be held on Sunday, September 14. It will be compered by BBC Radio Bristol’s Steve Le Fevre and Ali Vowles.

To sign up visit www.runforthefuture.org or phone 0117 414 7942 for a form or advice