Targeting Prostate Cancer Metabolism in Bone Metastatic Prostate Cancer

Dr Jessica Whitburn was a NIHR academic clinical research fellow in Urology, and is currently a  Cancer Research UK Oxford Centre DPhil student based at the Botnar Centre for Musculoskeletal Research (within the Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences), and has an honorary clinical contract at Oxford University Hospitals. Jessica graduated from University College London and completed her foundation doctor training in London. She completed her basic surgical training in Oxford alongside undertaking laboratory research and completing a post graduate diploma in healthcare research.

Jessica is aiming to improve the effectiveness treatment for patients with metastatic prostate cancer by targeting metabolic features specific to metastatic cancer cells. Prostate cancer is the commonest cancer in men in the UK and the second leading cause of cancer death. Whilst treatment of localised disease is very effective, when it spreads (metastasises), typically to bone, it becomes incurable, and therefore there is an urgent need to find novel treatment strategies for these men. Jessica is working on elucidating how prostate cancer metabolism changes when it spreads to the bone in the hope that by identifying and targeting these changes, it will be possible to develop new treatments. In particular Jessica’s research focusses on an anti-oxidant pathway that cancer cells might use to gain resistance to currently used therapies.

Within Oxford Jessica works with the Prof Claire Edwards and Prof Freddie Hamdy (Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences). She collaborates with scientists from Keio University, Japan (Prof Soga, Dr Hirayama).

Jessica’s pre-DPhil work was funded by the National Institute of Health Research  Academic Clinical Fellowship programme, her DPhil has been funded by Cancer Research UK, with scholarship funding from the Japanese Society for Promotion of Science.