• MySTV

Meet the doctor who is hoping to find new treatments for prostate cancer

Dr Prabhakar Rajan has been awarded £675,000 over four years from Cancer Research UK.

Doctor Rajan of the University of Glasgow’s Beatson Institute

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK.

In Scotland, around 3000 men are diagnosed with the disease every year and around 1000 lose the battle.

But a Glasgow doctor is hoping to find new ways to treat prostate cancer and even cure the disease.

Dr Prabhakar Rajan is based at the University of Glasgow’s Beatson Institute where he works as both a clinician and a scientist.

He has recently been awarded £675,000 over four years from Cancer Research UK to allow him to establish his own research group.

The 35-year-old is the first surgeon in the west of Scotland to have been given this award specifically to allow him to initiate his own research.

Dr Rajan said: "There are very few urologists in the UK who actually have one of these awards. It’s something I can use to set up my own research group and my own lab to look at important questions both from a scientific perspective but also from a medical perspective as well.

"This is one of the first awards to be given to a surgeon in the west of Scotland and also to a urologist in the whole of Scotland so it’s a prestigious award. But it’s also really good for the region as well because it helps to put the region and also Scotland on the map in terms of prostate cancer research. It also raises awareness of prostate cancer and for men who have prostate cancer."

Dr Rajan has been working in the prostate cancer field for around eight years.

He said: "It’s a significant disease burden and one of the biggest problems we have in prostate cancer is actually identifying patients who have early disease. Many patients who present with prostate cancer actually present with advanced disease that’s spread beyond the prostate gland. For these patients there isn’t really any cure.

"You can’t remove the prostate gland with surgery and cure the patient, so for a lot of these patients we have to use treatments such as hormone therapy. This is only able to control the disease for a period of time, maybe something like three to five years.

"The disease then comes back and after that there are a number of different treatments that we try, but none of them are really that effective. So ultimately the survival for these patients is fairly poor."

But Dr Rajan has been trying to find ways to detect the disease early and also treat the disease after it has spread.

"What I’ve been trying to do is try to identify the ways that prostate cancer cells spread to different parts of the body using a number of different model systems in the laboratory. The idea is to try and see whether we can look at the ways that these cells express genes," he said.

"In the past ten years, scientists have found that the genes within the cells are far more complex than initially thought. I’m trying to unravel the complexities in the genes and see if we can find any that are more likely to make these cancer cells spread.

"The idea is if we can do that in the lab, and we can actually use some patient’s samples that we’ve got from patients who have got advanced prostate cancer and prostate cancer that’s spread to other parts of the body, then we can potentially develop some drug targets which we can then use to treat these patients to try and control the disease as effectively as possible.

"We are then trying to render an incurable disease potentially curable in the long term."

And the grant the Dr Rajan has received from Cancer Research UK will allow him to set up his own research team to develop some of these models in the laboratory.

Dr Rajan came to Glasgow in 2008 after studying in Cambridge, Edinburgh and Newcastle.

In his position at the Beatson Institute he is able to train as a surgeon and a doctor as well as undertake research.

He said: "I guess I’ve got two jobs. The thing that’s really exciting about the job is that on the one hand you can see patients and treat patients and on the other hand you’re actually trying to understand the disease processes that affect these patients and identify some potential treatments for them using knowledge of science and scientific expertise.

"It’s really the variability and the fact that you can do both things in parallel which makes my job really interesting."

He added: "The grant is really going to enable me to spend more time in the research side of things, recruit staff in this research programme as well as continue clinical practice and treat patients with prostate cancer."

For more information on prostate cancer visit the STV Health Centre, brought to you by NHS inform.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.


We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.


Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.


Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.



Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.