Gustavo Ayala, MD
About Gustavo Ayala, MD
Targeting Neurogenesis in Prostate Cancer
The prostate gland is rich in nerves and proteins that support nerve growth (neural growth factors). Studies from Dr. Ayala’s group have demonstrated that prostate cancer cells directly interact with nerves. The data also showed that nerve density in the prostate was highest in areas with cancer. Based on these observations, Dr. Ayala hypothesized that neurogenesis (nerve growth) permits and/or promotes prostate cancer progression. To test this, Dr. Ayala and colleagues have designed a first-in-man clinical trial testing a powerful neurotoxin, Botulinum Neurotoxin Type A (BoNT-A) also known as BOTOX, that blocks nerve activity and growth. This study will determine whether interruption of neurogenesis with BoNT-A activates anti-tumor activity and will identify the tumor-promoting mechanism underlying the interaction between nerve cells and prostate cancer cells.
The Gordon Becker Creativity Award
Baylor College of Medicine, Texas