Eight Teams, One Goal: Find a Cure for Prostate Bone Metastasis
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men and causes 3,300 deaths in Australia and 250,000 deaths per annum, world-wide. Although treatments are available for localised disease, 40% of patients will eventually develop metastases, specifically metastases to the skeleton. The mechanisms responsible for metastatic prostate cancer are unknown and as a result metastatic disease remains incurable and is invariably lethal.
With no cure, understanding how prostate cancers develop in the skeleton is critical if we are to develop new approaches to treatment. This will depend on being able to find, and study, the individual prostate cancer cells that initiate the development of cancers that grow in bone. Until now, addressing these questions has not been technically possible.
However, ProMis (Prostate Cancer Metastasis) research uniquely brings together researchers from different backgrounds, each with diverse skills and proven track records in their areas of expertise, to tackle this problem. ProMis has now developed unique clinical cohorts and animal models of prostate cancer. For the first time, it is possible to identify individual dormant cancer cells in the skeleton that will allow the researchers to study the cells that cause prostate cancer bone metastasis.
ProMis draws on highly experienced Prostate Cancer investigators as well as experts from other fields including bone biology, breast cancer research, transcriptomics and genomics.
Together, ProMis will develop novel models of Prostate Cancer metastasis, assemble world-class clinical cohorts of dormant and overt bone metastases, and interrogate these platforms by bringing to bear our new technologies, including single cell genomics/transcriptomics, high resolution genome mapping and single cell intravital imaging of dormant cancer cells, to the challenge.
The initial focus of ProMis is to define dormant prostate cancer cells and identify new therapeutic targets and approaches that regulate dormancy.
ProMis foresees that after 3 years of conducting the planned research there will be sufficient evidence to start testing new treatments. It is anticipated that by the year 2017, ProMis will have initiated a Clinical Trial testing one of the new treatment options.