Funding needed for non-invasive treatment for prostate cancer

Thursday 3 September 2020

RBWH Foundation has launched a major fundraising campaign for ground-breaking Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital research into immunotherapy for prostate cancer.

The ‘Donate for Prostate’ campaign coincides with September’s International Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and Father’s Day on September 6.

“It’s a tragic statistic that more men die of prostate cancer, than women die from breast cancer,” said RBWH Foundation CEO Simone Garske.

“Government funding is not available for this research so it is vital we do everything we can to protect our fathers, husbands, brothers and friends.”

Prostate Cancer by the numbers

• One in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer by the age of 85.
• While it is more common in older men, younger men also get prostate cancer, with 37% of cases diagnosed in men under 65.
• 30% of patients who undergo radical prostatectomy, the commonest form of treatment for clinically localised disease, have secondary cancer diagnosed subsequently.

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Queensland’s 2020 Senior Australian of the Year, Peter Dornan, is a prostate cancer survivor. Diagnosed at 52, Peter said the diagnosis impacted every aspect of this life.

“A non-invasive immunotherapy vaccine would be absolutely remarkable for prostate cancer patients. It would mean not having to go through the side effects caused by radiation and other treatments.”

“Prostate cancer is common. One in seven men will be diagnosed, so someone you know or someone in your family may get it.” Dr. Matthew Roberts, Urologist and Researcher at the RBWH, said that the therapeutic vaccine could be developed within five years if appropriate funding is secured.

“Immunotherapy for prostate cancer research aims to cure what is currently an incurable cancer and provide a non-invasive treatment with minimal side effects for patients,” said Dr. Roberts.

“It focuses on using the body’s own natural immune defenses to fight the condition. What we have developed in the lab is very promising and we now need to test the patient population.”

“Previous therapeutic vaccine studies have shown very minimal side effects, so we are really excited about the prospect of this research because the therapeutic vaccine has the potential to dramatically improve the quality of life for patients and help them live longer.

“We may even be able to extend this therapy to men in other advanced stages of prostate cancer, such as after initial radiotherapy, which is quite difficult to treat”

“We need to raise $500,000 to support the ongoing research and studies of this vaccine with the hope to have it developed in five years.”

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Australia, and it is estimated almost 100,000 men are living with the cancer at any one time.

Of the men treated for prostate cancer, up to 30% will have the cancer recur.

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