Dr Niall Corcoran, PhD, FRACS (UROL)
Senior Lecturer, Department of Surgery, University of Melbourne
Director of Translational Research, APCRC Epworth
Dr Corcoran is an Australian trained urologist and research scientist with clinical appointments at Royal Melbourne and Geelong Hospitals. He is a senior lecturer in the Department of Surgery, University of Melbourne, where he holds the prestigious David Bickart Clinician Research Fellowship and he is he is also the Director of Translational Research at the Australian Prostate Cancer Centre Epworth. His clinical interest is in the surgical and multimodal management of high-risk prostate and bladder cancers. His clinical research interests are risk stratification for early prostate cancer, neoadjuvant and adjuvant trials for high-risk disease and early phase clinical studies for castration-resistant disease. His basic research interest lies in molecular events underlying the development and progression of lethal prostate cancer, the discovery and development of new agents for high-risk disease.
Dr Corcoran graduated MB BCh BAO (First Class Honours) from the University College Dublin in 1998, and undertook his basic surgical training through the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, gaining admission as an associate fellow in 2001. In 2002 he immigrated to Australia and enrolled in a PhD in the molecular biology of prostate cancer through the University of Melbourne under the supervision of Dr Chris Hovens and Prof Tony Costello, graduating in 2006. During his studies he discovered that one particular form of selenium (sodium selenate) is a specific activator of the protein phosphatase PP2A, which downregulates PI3K/Akt signalling in prostate cancer cells.
On the basis of these discoveries, a number of patent applications were filed, and he co-founded a University of Melbourne spin-off company, Velacor Therapeutics, to commercially develop this novel technology. He successfully raised $1.5 million in venture capital to fund a Phase I trial in patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer, which he designed and recently reported. He also extended these findings to Alzheimer’s disease, where PP2A is implicated in pathological tau hyperphosphorylation and accumulation. Recently he was involved in the design of a Phase II study of sodium selenate in patients with Alzheimer’s disease/Frontotemporal dementia, which is currently ongoing at the Royal Melbourne Hospital (funded by Velacor).