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Full Report: Prostate cancer breakthrough

Scientists in the region have made a major breakthrough in finding out how prostate cancer starts.

The team from the University of York have confirmed a link between stem cells and the cancer itself.

In years to come the findings of their research could revolutionise the way patients are treated.

You can watch the full report from Claire Montgomery below.

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Prostate cancer breakthrough welcomed by patients

Brian Richardson was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year Credit: ITV News

Brian Richardson from York is welcoming today's announcement.

He had surgery after being diagnosed with prostate cancer last year.

He said:

"At the time I was diagnosed, it was either a matter of getting radiotherapy, chemotherapy and I took the decision to have the prostate removed because the cancer was within the prostate.

"But, in years to come, with the research that has been talked about today, it means there is a likelihood they can treat the cancer chemically without having to remove the gland."

Cancer research marks "fundamental shift"

Research carried out by scientists at the University of York has identified the driving force behind the development of prostate cancer.

The prostate cancer research has been funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research who gave over two million pounds to the unit in August 2011 to fund a five year programme.

"This exciting discovery is another step forward in our understanding of how prostate cancer begins. Professor Maitland has detected one of the earliest possible changes in the development of prostate cancer.

"The findings mean that new therapies can now be developed which specifically target the protein identified, killing the stem cells that remain after chemotherapy while leaving healthy cells untouched."

– Kathryn Scott, Head of Research Funding at Yorkshire Cancer Research

The new discovery now means that scientists can work towards the development of drugs that specifically target stem cells and more effectively work against the root cause of the disease.

"This discovery marks a fundamental shift in our understanding of how solid cancers start. It is believed that 'root' cancer cells arise from healthy stem cells going wrong - for example certain controls can be turned off which allow the cells to keep growing and invade surrounding tissue.

"In blood cancers DNA is rearranged which results in a mutant protein that drives cancer progression.

"Although similar rearrangements have recently been discovered in solid cancers, until now, they have not been considered as stem cell functions.

"Our work has challenged this idea."

– Professor Norman Maitland, Director of the YCR Cancer Research Unit

York scientists discover prostate cancer-inducing DNA

Professor Norman Maitland from the University of York Credit: ITV News

Scientists based at the University of York have discovered what could be the driving force behind why people develop prostate cancer.

The research - which has been published today - reveals the existence of DNA formation which could go on to cause prostate cancer.

The discovery means that treatment can now be developed to fight the disease more effectively.