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Investigating the Roles of Stromal AR in Prostate Cancer Progression

Institution: University of California, Santa Cruz
Investigator(s): Yueli Liu,
Award Cycle: 2019 (Cycle 29) Grant #: T29FT0507 Award: $203,280
Subject Area: Cancer
Award Type: Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards

Initial Award Abstract
I propose the TRDRP Postdoctoral Award project entitled Investigating the roles of stromal AR in prostate cancer progression with the goal to become an independent prostate cancer researcher and to translate my scientific discoveries into clinical diagnosis and personalized therapy. University of California Santa Cruz and the Wang lab provide an ideal training environment to support me in attaining these goals. My research interest arises from the finding that a critical gene for prostate development and physiology, named androgen receptor (AR), functions differently in different cell types of the prostate. Whether AR in the stromal cells promotes or suppresses prostate cancer is currently under debate. The objective of this proposal is to (1) clarify the controversy by performing rigorous in vivo tests using mouse prostate cancer models; (2) explore how stromal AR regulates other genes in modulating prostate cancer progression. These objectives will be achieved by introducing defined AR gene mutations to mouse prostate stromal cells to analyze the pathological and molecular effects under various cancer-promoting conditions in vivo and by correlating key master regulator genes with human prostate cancer progression. This study addresses basic biological mechanisms of prostate cancer progression, but can be potentially very informative for distinguishing different prostate cancer symptoms in the clinics. In particular, the project may provide better prognostic biomarkers to tell more accurately which prostate cancer patients have aggressive lethal diseases and which have indolent ones. Such information is crucial for the rational design of subsequent treatment options. My proposed research should therefore facilitate personalized medicine in prostate cancer clinics.