Professor Malcolm Mason is head of the Oncology and Palliative Medicine Section at the School of Medicine. Based at Velindre Hospital, he is also Director of the Wales Cancer Bank. Established in 2003, the Bank is recognised as one of the foremost of its kind worldwide, and has revolutionised opportunities for cancer research, collecting blood and tissue samples from thousands of people in Wales either suffering from cancer or with a potential cancer diagnosis. The Bank is a collaboration involving Cardiff University, the Welsh Assembly Government, the NHS and Cancer Research Wales.
Professor Mason’s own group has carried out a great deal of research into prostate cancer. Through studies which he has led via the MRC, it has been shown that survival rates in men with advanced prostate cancer improve when they are given drugs that preserve bone mass, and more recently that radiotherapy added to hormone therapy reduced deaths from prostate cancer by nearly half in patients with locally advanced disease.
Non-malignant prostate stem cells are known to exist. From their characteristics, it is expected that malignant prostate cancer stem cells will be resistant to hormone treatment and possibly also to chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Professor Mason said: “We need to know more about prostate cancer stem cells. They could offer new ways to tackle prostate cancer or, at the very least, tell us more about what happens when present treatments fail. We are excited about the opportunities for us to work with the new European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute to improve our understanding in this particular field.”