Cancer

Research looks to slow prostate cancer’s ‘joyride’

Research looks to slow prostate cancer’s ‘joyride’
Dr. Alison Allan, an Anatomy and Cell Biology professor at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, is asking if circulating tumour cells (CTCs) can predict which prostate cancer treatments will be most effective for patients. Credit: Paul Mayne//Western News

When it comes to arresting cancer’s joyride through the body, one Western researcher’s work looks to be the ‘traffic cop’ on the bloodstream highway.

Anatomy and Cell Biology professor Dr. Alison Allan is examining circulating tumour cells (CTCs) – cancer cells that detach from a primary tumour, travel through the bloodstream and invade other parts of the body – as a possible guide for individualized prostate cancer treatment success.

“With prostate cancer, 90 per cent of the deaths occur because of metastasis to the vital organs, which can disrupt the making of immune cells,” Allan said. “In order to get to these distant sites from the prostate, these cells have to get into the bloodstream, using it like the highway, like their own 401. Think of this blood test as the traffic cop, trying…