What to Remember About November, Movember, and No-Shave November

Tech Blog Thursday mixes serious science with humor and easily recognizable analogies for the less-than-scientifically-inclined. The purpose of this blog series is to illustrate the potential of not-yet-commercialized technology and encourage excitement about the possibilities.

December 3, 2014

Feature Image - Lab PipettesReflecting on Movember, or No-Shave November, a month where guys can forgo their normal face-shaving routine in the name of men’s health, it’s time now to even the score of how many scruffy faces you’ve encountered versus how much you’ve heard about the cause.

A combination of “moustasche” and “November” in the case of Movember, the month has become known as a time for men, or “mo bros,” to change the face of men’s health by growing their facial hair to raise awareness of men’s health issues such as prostate cancer. Posting pictures of a proudly-perfected beard or moustache can serve as starting points for men encouraging each other to talk about the importance of annual check-ups and awareness of family cancer history.

Now that you or the mo bros in your life just said goodbye to a month of gardening around grins and said hello to Gillette, read up on the real cause with help from a couple of history’s famous bearded manly men.

 “Man is not made for defeat.”

—Ernest Hemingway

The kind of guy who survived two plane crashes on consecutive days and fought off sharks with a machine gun, Ernest Hemingway was a man’s man. In step with his reputation for directness, here’s the quick-and-dirty rundown on a main defense against prostate cancer.

  • Androgens are male hormones, including testosterone, produced primarily by the testicles
  • Androgens stimulate the growth of prostate cancer cells
  • Androgen blockade therapy lowers androgen levels or stops them from getting to prostate cancer cells
  • Less exposure to androgens can make prostate cancer shrink or grow more slowly

But androgen blockade therapy doesn’t work forever. Eventually, this reduced level of male hormones leads to an increase of androgen-independent cells and the development of prostate cancer able to grow without the presence of androgens.

“The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike him as hard as you can, and keep moving on.”

—Ulysses S. Grant

Ulysses S. Grant

Ulysses S. Grant

Grant knew how to win a fight. Commanding general of the Union armies as a West Point graduate, Grant led them to victory over Confederate forces and went on to win two terms as the 18th President of the United States.

Researchers at UCF know how to win a fight too. In the spirit of Grant’s strategy, they’ve now identified a specific cluster of micro RNA (miRNAs) involved in prostate cancer’s transition from a form that can be slowed or stopped by androgen blockade therapy to prostate cancer that grows just as much without the presence of androgens. UCF researchers patented the newly-discovered miRNAs that can now be developed into biomarkers and therapeutic targets for prostate cancer.

We’re challenging all mo bros to step up and talk boldly about men’s health. Here at the UCF Office of Technology Transfer, partnering with others is the only way we can bring vital technology like a prognostic marker for aggressive prostate cancer out of the labs and into the real world, where it can help brave men fighting for their lives. Make the patchy phase you or your mo bro survived worth it by starting a conversation about the steps men can take to increase early cancer detection and ultimately reduce the number of preventable deaths.

To learn more about partnering with UCF to bring this prognostic marker for aggressive prostate cancer to market, contact Brion Berman.


(Update: the technology referenced here is no longer available for license. However, if you are interested in partnering with the research team for future projects, contact Brion Berman.)