Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) have been partners of Movember since 2004 and together we are working towards a shared goal of reducing the impact of prostate cancer on Australian men and their loved ones.
Together, Movember and the PCFA are dedicated to:
PCFA receives limited government funding, instead relying on the generosity of the Movember community, and partners like Movember to provide funds and grow its vital services across Australia.
Examples of Movember Funded Programs
Movember Funds Australia’s First Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurses
As a direct result of Movember funding, men with prostate cancer are set to benefit from a program that will deliver nurses specialising in prostate cancer.
The new program – the first of its type in Australia to focus on prostate cancer - was recently launched by Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) and will ensure men diagnosed with prostate cancer benefit from coordinated, specialist nursing care.
The initiative will see 13 Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurses placed in both metropolitan and regional hospitals around Australia to provide men with prostate cancer both clinical and supportive care. Unlike other nurses, the Prostate Cancer Nurses will be an expert point of contact for patients and their families during the entire cycle of prostate cancer care – including post treatment support.
Dr Anthony Lowe, Chief Executive of PCFA, says
“Prostate cancer care adds to the load on hospital services, and the benefits of coordinated care have been well documented. It is now time to deliver an improved level of support and care to men affected by prostate cancer. Our vision over the next ten years is to have up to 120 specialist nurses helping to meet the demand for effective services to men living with prostate cancer.”
Starving Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancers are hungry, growing cells. Now it’s been discovered how to cut off their food supply thanks to research supported by Movember. We’re proud to be able to tell you that funds raised by the Movember community have enabled researchers at the Centenary Institute in Sydney to discover a potential future treatment for prostate cancer.
They’ve discovered that it is possible to starve the tumour cells of an essential nutrient they need to grow rapidly.
Current therapies for prostate cancer include surgical removal of the prostate, radiation, freezing the tumour or cutting off the supply of the hormone testosterone—but there are often side-effects including incontinence and impotence. Growing cells need an essential nutrient, the amino acid called leucine, which is pumped into the cell by specialised proteins. And this could be prostate cancer’s weak link.
Dr Jeff Holst and his team at the Centenary Institute found that prostate cancer cells have more pumps than normal. This allows the cancer cells to take in more leucine and outgrow normal cells.
“This information allows us to target the pumps – and we’ve tried two routes. We found that we could disrupt the uptake of leucine firstly by reducing the amount of the protein pumps, and secondly by introducing a drug that competes with leucine. Both approaches slowed cancer growth, in essence ‘starving’ the cancer cells,” Jeff says.
By targeting different sets of pumps, the researchers were able to slow tumour growth in both the early and late stages of prostate cancer. In some of the experiments, they were able to slow tumour growth by as much as 50 per cent. The hope is that researchers could develop a treatment that slows the growth of the cancer so that it would not require surgical removal.
Jeff says one of the other spin-offs of the discovery is a better understanding of the links between prostate cancer and eating foods high in leucine.
“Diets high in red meat and dairy are correlated with prostate cancer but still no one really understands why. We have already begun examining whether these pumps can explain the links between diet and prostate cancer. Given one in nine men in Australia may develop prostate cancer in their lifetime, this discovery could touch thousands of lives.”
Further information can be found here.
Prostate Cancer Research
Movember funds are helping researchers around the world conduct vital research into prostate cancer, in an effort to make a significant difference to the lives of men who experience the disease, the families who support them and to reduce the incident and mortality rate.
Young researchers are investigating various aspects of the disease including the specialised cells responsible for initiating tumors and allowing them to grow, as well as the link between nutrition and prostate cancer. This clip takes a brief look at research programs the PCFA is supporting throughout Australia thanks to the hard work and amazing fundraising efforts of Mo Bros and Mo Sistas.
Localised Prostate Cancer Patient Support Kit
It is estimated that in 2010, almost 20,000 Australian men were diagnosed with prostate cancer. At a time when men are often bewildered by the news that they have prostate cancer, they also have to make potentially life-changing decisions.
PCFA’s highly-anticipated Localised Prostate Cancer Pack was recently launched, providing important information about treatment options, side effects and the overall prostate cancer experience in one easy-to-manage pack. Funded in conjunction with The Movember Foundation, Symbion Pharmacy Services and Foster's Community Grants, the pack also provides information about support services and helps patients track medical appointments and expenses, as well as thoughts and feelings throughout the prostate cancer experience.
Research Program Example
Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men in Australia. Over 20,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2011 and 3300 will die from this devastating disease. To reduce the burden of this cancer in our community we need better diagnostic tools, novel and effective treatments and better preventive measures. To be able to reach these goals and find a cure for prostate cancer research funding is desperately needed.
Prof. Gail Risbridger and her team at Monash University are generously supported by Movember.
Since 2007, Movember has supported the largest competitive Research Program established by a not for profit organisation, Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA), and has become the second major funding source in the prostate cancer field. In the last four years Movember has invested more than $27M in prostate cancer research nationwide and currently supports 61 active projects in five states.
Since 2008, new findings by PCFA grantees supported by Movember have published more than 60 peer review papers in highly ranked journals, have lodged four patents pertaining to major discoveries in the field, have constantly taken their findings to international and national forums and have been awarded major awards and prizes. From 2008-2010 PCFA grantees have secured up to $5.5M in leveraged funding from other agencies, a return of approximately 20% of the Movember total investment for that period.
Movember support has in addition enabled the recruitments of 10 new investigators into PCa research. The number of our funded Young Investigators in 2010 reached 11, of whom 9 are now independent researchers and run their own laboratories. Research supported by Movember through PCFA’s Research program has been presented and acknowledged in more than 200 international and national conferences and media sources.
Research Program Example
Dr Luke Selth, is a research scientist at the Dame Roma Mitchell Cancer Research Laboratories in Adelaide, which are at the forefront of prostate cancer research in Australia. He holds a Movember Young Investigator Grant that was awarded to him through PCFA’s Research Program.
He first became interested in prostate cancer research after his grandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer. His research is aimed at identifying molecules in the blood, termed “biomarkers”, that are able to distinguish between aggressive and insignificant prostate cancer. These biomarkers could be used in new tests that would allow men to be treated appropriately at the time of diagnosis.
Thanks to the support of Movember, Luke has made good progress on this research program. He has discovered a group of molecules in the blood, termed microRNAs, that are key regulators of cancer. Right now, in their lab in Adelaide, Luke and his coworkers are assessing whether these microRNAs can be used as biomarkers to predict an individual man’s risk of dying from prostate cancer.
Dr. Kristen Radford leads Cancer Immunotherapies, Biological Therapies Program at The Mater Medical Research Instititute (MMRI), working in the area of Immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is a promising non-toxic strategy for the treatment of prostate cancer and other diseases. It works by teaching the patient's own immune system to recognise and destroy the cancer. Specialised blood cells called dendritic cells (DC) are essential to this process but they are poorly understood in humans.
Kristen and her team have pioneered methods to isolate and characterise rare human DC subsets in healthy donors and prostate cancer patients and have completed a phase I DC clinical trial in prostate cancer patients at MMRI. However, this type of vaccine is currently expensive, difficult to produce and not suitable or effective for many patients. With the support of a Movember Project Grant, Kristen’s team aims to overcome these limitations by developing a new vaccine that will directly target a type of cell known as dendritic cell or the “cancer fighting” directly without first needing to remove them from the patient. The vaccine would be a treatment option for men with advanced prostate cancer who currently have limited effective therapies available.