Pudur Jagadeeswaran, a professor of biology, has been awarded $200,000 by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) to fund research that will determine if zebrafish can be used to develop an early detection method for prostate cancer. The grant was one of 52 grants CPRIT awarded to 13 institutions in Texas, totaling more than $40 million in cancer research funding.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in men, but currently there is no test available to detect prostate cancer in its early stages. The two-year research project seeks to develop a test that can detect prostate cancer in its early stages and can be treated with chemotherapy.
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. And, about one man in 36 will die of prostate cancer, according to ACS.
"The previous notion was that only mammals have prostate glands. Zebrafish do not have prostate glands but do have prostate-like cells," says Jagadeeswaran. He says the question now is if researchers can create a prostate cancer model in fish by introducing oncogenes, which are tumor-causing agents.
Last April at the American Association for Cancer Research annual conference in Washington, D.C., Jagadeeswaran presented evidence that zebrafish could serve as a model for prostate cancer as their genes are very similar to those of humans. In future research, he hopes to use zebrafish to test a variety of chemicals which can cure the prostate cancer.
Jagadeeswaran became the first U.S. researcher about 15 years ago to use zebrafish to model human blood clotting disorders, predicting how to best counteract blood clots in human blood vessels.
The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas was established in 2007 to fund groundbreaking cancer research and prevention programs and services in Texas. CPRIT supports the following:
Jagadeeswaran became one of the first researchers in the country about 15 years ago to use zebrafish to model human disease to predict how to best counteract blood clots in human blood vessels.
- Innovation in the selection of research projects emphasizing immediate or long-term medical breakthroughs
- Commercialization opportunities for research
- Prevention services and health education for citizens with culturally appropriate information about ways in which their risks of developing and dying from cancer can be reduced
During the past year, CPRIT has awarded more than $250 million to 46 academic institutions, community organizations and private companies in Texas. With matching funds obligated by grant recipients, more than $350 million has been dedicated to cancer research.
Alyssa Yancey with UNT News Service can be reached at Alyssa.firstname.lastname@example.org.