Critical research to improve treatments and tackle therapy-resistant cancer
This World Cancer Day, The Hospital Research Foundation (THRF) Group is accelerating its fight against prostate cancer with the funding of four new research projects, bringing hope to the thousands of men battling the disease every year.
The projects aim to improve the treatment options available for men with prostate cancer and enhance diagnosis for those at higher risk of the disease advancing to incurable stages.
Paul Flynn, THRF Group CEO, said prostate cancer is an important area of healthcare for its donors, lottery supporters and the wider community.
“Men’s health is very important to us and sadly, 16,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in Australia every year,” Paul said.
“In line with our Together.Fight. campaign, we know that people can’t fight this deadly enemy on their own. But together with the knowledge of our researchers and support of the community, they have hope.
“Thanks to our generous donors and lottery ticket buyers, these projects will progress vital knowledge in the fight against prostate cancer so that our fathers, brothers, husbands and mates have a brighter outlook when faced with this scary disease.”
The four projects include:
- Critical research to tackle therapy-resistant prostate cancer, which involves a promising new drug Ribociclib and predicting which patients it will work best for
Ribociclib is more commonly used to treat breast cancer but has been shown to have promise in other cancers.
The outcomes of this research, being led by Dr Maggie Centenera (pictured) from the University of Adelaide, based at SAHMRI, will help guide treatment decisions for men whose prostate cancer has become resistant to existing therapies.
“When prostate cancer is at a stage where it becomes resistant to treatment, sadly it has no cure,” Dr Centenera said. “We urgently need new, more effective drugs to improve patient survival at this heartbreaking stage.
“An important feature of new drug research is personalising treatment through the use of biomarkers, which not only identifies who should be treated but, equally, who should not be treated with a particular drug due to its lack of efficacy for that population.
“This research will focus on identifying biomarkers to determine which patients Ribociclib will work best for, in order for doctors to be greater informed when making treatment decisions and ultimately improve survival rates for men with advanced prostate cancer.”
- Ground-breaking research to improve the oral medications taken for prostate cancer
Currently Zytiga is used as an effective oral treatment for prostate cancer, however it is expensive and inconvenient as it requires people to fast for two hours prior and one hour after administration.
Professor Clive Prestidge and colleagues from the University of South Australia are progressing pre-clinical studies on a revolutionary formulation of Zytiga-type drugs which speeds up digestion and enhances absorption in the body.
- Improving early detection of patients whose prostate cancer is more likely to spread
For the 15 per cent of prostate cancer patients who are at high risk of the cancer spreading to advanced incurable stages, early detection is crucial to improve their survival.
Dr Zeyad Nassar, from the University of Adelaide based at SAHMRI, aims to discover new biomarkers able to distinguish high-risk patients and then develop new treatments to improve the patient’s outcomes and quality of life.
A prostate cancer “report card” which clearly outlines the outcomes of various treatments, to help prostate cancer patients make informed treatment choices when diagnosed with the disease.
The “report card” tool will be developed by Dr Kerri Beckmann from the University of South Australia, using data from the South Australian Prostate Cancer Clinical Outcomes Collaborative (SA-PCCOC) registry.
It will evaluate survival, cancer recurrence, secondary treatment and impacts on urinary, bowel and sexual function for different prostate cancer treatments, based on the experiences of men previously diagnosed with prostate cancer.
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