PhD candidate Heather Armstrong from the Prostate Cancer Research Laboratory at SAHMRI joined over 100 international experts at the 7th International Conference on the Hsp90 Chaperone Machine, October 15-19, in Seeon, Germany.
Heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) is what is known as a “molecular chaperone”. Molecular chaperones bind to other proteins in the cell to allow them to function. In the case of prostate cancer, Hsp90 is a molecular chaperone of the andogen receptor. The androgen receptor binds androgen hormone (testosterone) and plays an essential part in the development of prostate cancer and in disease.
Heather, who is receiving a PhD top-up Scholarship from the Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men’s Health, presented her research on the effect of a drug which is an inhibitor of Hsp90 called NVP-AUY922 in prostate cancer cells. She has found that administration of prostate cancer cells with NVP-AUY990 leads to disruption of cytoskeletal organisation of the cell, essential for it’s structure and function, and in doing so inhibits prostate cancer cell growth.
Discussions following her presentation resulted in opportunities for future collaborations investigating a series of new and improved Hsp90 inhibitors that appear promising in pre-clinical disease models.