11 March 2018
Almost 6,000 men in NSW will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, and more than half that number will die from the disease. Yet all prostate cancer diagnoses are not created equal – and a key challenge is to treat aggressive cancers decisively, while avoiding potentially damaging overtreatment of less aggressive disease.
New funding from Cancer Institute NSW, announced today, aims to ensure that all men with prostate cancer receive the right treatment for their cancer, at the right time. The $3.75 million Translational Program Grant will support a major collaborative initiative involving researchers and clinicians at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, The Kinghorn Cancer Centre, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, St Vincent’s Clinic and St Vincent’s Hospital.
Additional Cancer Institute funding, also announced today, will support groundbreaking cancer research by early- and mid-career researchers.
Making change in prostate cancer outcomes
Professor Lisa Horvath, who leads the prostate cancer program, is Director of Medical Oncology and Director of Research at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and a researcher at Garvan, where she heads the Clinical Prostate Cancer Research group.
Prof Horvath says that the Program will have a strong clinical focus.
“Many research groups aspire to develop precision medicine strategies for prostate cancer – but the big challenge is to ensure that research findings make the leap into clinical practice, and so change health outcomes for men with prostate cancer in Australia,” she says.
“I’m proud that we’ve been able to bring together a truly multidisciplinary team from across Sydney’s leading medical research institutes and hospitals. Together, we have the experience and capacity to take findings from this program through to clinical implementation, such that the results are not merely publications, but make change in clinical practice in NSW as well as nationally and internationally.”
Investigators on the study also include Garvan’s Professor Susan Clark and Professor Vanessa Hayes, as well as Professor Phillip Stricker (St Vincent’s Clinic and Garvan), Professor James Kench (Royal Prince Alfred Hospital), Associate Professor Anthony Joshua (St Vincent’s Hospital and The Kinghorn Cancer Centre) and Associate Professor Louise Emmett (St Vincent’s Hospital).
Funding Australia’s most promising young researchers
A total of 19 cancer research projects led by early- and mid-career researchers received funding in today’s announcement. Of those, six are led by Garvan researchers:
- Dr Mandy Ballinger (Career Development Fellowship) – Dr Ballinger’s work seeks to uncover how genomic sequences contribute to cancer risk in young people
- Dr Thomas Cox (Career Development Fellowship) – Dr Cox will explore how altering the ‘stiffness’ of pancreatic tumours can affect their response to treatment
- Ira Deveson (Early Career Fellowship) – Mr Deveson will develop a series of Sequins: molecular tools that improve the reliability of a genomic cancer diagnosis
- Dr David Herrmann (Early Career Fellowship) – Dr Herrmann will investigate ways to stop the spread of breast cancer in its tracks, by pinpointing early events in cancer spread
- Mrs Heloisa Helena Milioli (Early Career Fellowship) – Mrs Milioli will address the problem of resistance to therapy in breast cancer, by exploring new cellular targets for treatment
- Dr Max Nobis (Early Career Fellowship) – Dr Nobis will work to make pancreatic cancer therapies more effective, by identifying and targeting the regions within a tumour that have poor drug response.
See the full list of Cancer Institute-funded career support grants for 2018.