Research Programs

The FFCMH supports world-class research programs under  three themes: health services and preventative health, basic science, and clinical and population health.

These programs target the most pressing issues in men's health and concurrently address many of the national health priorities of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, anxiety and depression, reproductive health, obesity and cancer. The Centre engages with men across our communities, research leaders and stakeholders to ensure our research programs remain clinically relevant, comprehensive, are successfully translated, and that it appropriately represents and consider the needs of vulnerable populations of men.

Research publications

Please visit Google Scholar for the most up to date listing of the Centre's research publications.

Some of our major research programs

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  • Male Aging Study - Men, Androgen, Inflammation, Lifestyle, Environment & Stress study (MAILES)

    The Men Androgen Inflammation Lifestyle Environment and Stress (MAILES) study is one of Australia's largest and longest running studies on male health and well-being with ageing.  2584 South Australian community dwelling men aged 35 to 80 years from the northern and western suburbs of Adelaide have generously provided their time to provide data that continues to improve our understanding of risk factors for, and early warning signs of, diabetes and poor heart and metabolic health, sexual health and mental health, and men's use of, and preference for health services.

    As the cohort ages, we will uncover more information about cancer, osteoporosis and dementia to inform prevention and treatment.  

    Find out more

    Contact

    South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute

  • Testosterone and diabetes prevention

    Pre-diabetes, the condition that precedes Type 2 diabetes, is common in overweight and obese men aged 50 years or older with low testosterone (T) levels. Ageing in and of itself is not the major cause of decreasing blood T levels, but rather obesity, depression, or the use of certain medications. Testosterone has a role in energy, mood, bone and muscle mass. Low T may therefore impede motivation for lifestyle changes required for weight loss. Most men are unaware they have the condition. We are undertaking a world-first study, funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council to examine over 2-years whether testosterone treatment helps prevent progression of prediabetes to Type 2 diabetes in these at risk men, when received together with a healthy lifestyle program delivered by Weight Watchers.  1000 overweight men aged 50-74 years with glucose intolerance and low serum T levels have been randomised to receive T or placebo.

    Men are being monitored for the onset of Type 2 diabetes by an oral glucose tolerance test. Body composition, blood lipids and inflammatory markers, mood, well-being, sexual function, and adherence to the Weight Watchers program are also being assessed. Men are being assessed for serious adverse events, e.g. cardiovascular, urological and mental health, and PSA.

    Contact

    South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute

    Current clinical trial

     

    A 2-year, multi-centre double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial to determine in men with total testosterone equal to or less than 14nmol/L the efficacy of testosterone treatment together with a lifestyle program in comparison to a lifestyle program alone, to normalise glucose tolerance in those with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes (T2DM) or prevent progression to T2DM in those with pre-diabetes.    ACTRN12612000287831  

    Recruitment has closed.  Findings to be released 2020.

    Funding partners

    National Health and Medical Research Council; Eli Lilly; Bayer Schering; Sonic Heath Care; University of Adelaide

    Collaborating institutions

    The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, SA; University of South Australia, SA; University of Sydney, NSW; Anzac Research Institute, NSW;  Weight Watchers; Freemantle Hospital, WA; Keogh Institute, WA; The Austin Hospital, VIC; Princess Alexandra Hospital, QLD.

  • Prostate cancer and the androgen receptor

    The androgen receptor (AR) is a key protein in prostate cells that binds the sex hormone testosterone which drives prostate cancer growth. Professor Tilley was one of the first scientists to describe the AR and this led to the development of the current hormone therapy drugs for advanced prostate cancer that stop testosterone binding to the receptor. This improved 5-year survival rate for prostate cancer from 10% to 80%.  We, and others have shown that an altered form of the androgen receptor emerges during hormone therapy that continues to drive cancer growth without testosterone.  Men therefore eventually become resistant to current drugs after which no treatment options are available. Our researchers in the Dame Roma Mitchell Cancer Research Laboratory lead a global program developing and trialling new drugs to combat drug resistance and fatal disease.  

      Contacts

      The Dame Roma Mitchell Cancer Research Laboratory, The University of Adelaide

      Funding partners

      National Health and Medical Research Council; Movember/NBCF; US Department of Defense;

      Collaborating institutions

      Monash University, VIC; Garvan Institute for Medical Research, NSW; University of Texas South Western, Dallas, Texas, USA; University of Washington, Washington, USA; Fred Hutchinon Cancer Research Institute, Seattle, Washington, USA; Johns Hopkins University Medical Centre, Baltimore, MD, USA; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA; CRUK Cambridge Institute, Cambridge, UK; Royal Marsden Hospital, London, UK; The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, SA

    • Prostate cancer and lipids

      Lipids (fats) are the building blocks of cells. The lipids in prostate cancer cells are known to be different to those in normal prostate cells and the activity of some lipid enzymes are increased in prostate cancer cells compared to normal cells. Our researchers in the Prostate Cancer Research Group are leading a new global research program to better understand the role that lipids play in controlling prostate cancer behaviour.  We have shown that lipids from the diet and body fat can profoundly influence prostate cancer cell behaviour, and potentially make the cancer more aggressive and resistant to drugs.  We are using this knowledge to inform lifestyle-related prevention strategies to reduce the risk of aggressive disease, to develop sensitive probes for lipid biomarkers to predict disease behaviour and the likely response of men to different prostate cancer drugs to better guide treatment and improve health outcomes, and we are evaluating lipid enzyme inhibitors as a novel drug approach for treating prostate cancer.

        Contacts

        Prostate Cancer Research Group, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute

        Current clinical trials

         

        A phase II randomised controlled trial to establish if LEE0011 (ribociclib) is effective in inhibiting the growth of prostate cancer cells.  ACTRN12618000354280  The Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, NSW

        Funding partners

        Movember; Cancer Council SA; National Health and Medical Research Council; Cancer Australia; The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, Royal Adelaide Hospital Research Fund

        Collaborating Institutions

        The South Australian Prostate Cancer Clinical Outcomes Collaborative, SA; The University of Leuven, Belgium; The University of Sydney, NSW; Garvan Institute for Medical Research, Sydney, NSW; Olivia Newton John Cancer Research Institute, Melbourne, VIC; Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD; Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, USA; Sansom Institute for Health Research, UniSA, SA

      • Male reproductive health

        We now know that the responsibilities of fatherhood start well before conception. Obesity and chronic disease in men, whilst known to impact their own fertility, also extends to the disease burden in their children. Promoting 'healthy paternity’ may motivate men to improve their own health and in doing so, intervene in the transfer and amplification of chronic disease and reproductive ill-health in the next generation. Our research examines the biology of how disease risk is transferred via sperm and use this knowledge to develop tests of risk and interventions for use in IVF practice and for family planning.

        Contacts

        Collaborating institutions

        Royal Adelaide Hospital, SA; The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, SA; Repromed, SA; University of Newcastle, NSW; Monash University, VIC; Monash IVF, VIC; University of Melbourne, VIC; Andrology Australia, VIC; Universite Blaise Pascal, France

      • Mental health

        This program focuses on two of the three leading causes of disease burden in Australian men and women, cardiovascular disease and mental health.  Secifically, this research examines the links between heart health and brain health.  The management of depression and anxiety in persons with heart failure reduces the likelihood of early death and improves health outcomes after cardiac surgery.  This research has resulted in changes to how depression and anxiety are identified and managed in cardiology units in hospitals across Australia. 

        On the flip side, physical ailment significantly increases the risk for depression and suicide, and the highest suicide rates for males are in middle-aged Australian men. The three leading chronic diseases in men; cardiac disease, Type 2 diabetes and depression increasingly occur together and share risk factors. Depression is also linked to sleep apnoea and lower urinary tract symptoms, also common in men. Our research aims to trial new mental health screening and cost effective interventions offered at the point of care for conditions commonly affecting men and women in order to reduce the burden of undetected depression. 

        Contacts

        Funding partners

        National Health and Medical Research Council; National Heart Foundation

        Collaborating institutions

        Flinders Medical Centre, SA; Flinders University of South Australia, SA; The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, SA; University of Freiburg, Germany; Université de Bordeaux, France

      • Urological health

        Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) - getting up to urinate two or more times a night (nocturia), urinating too frequently and difficulty urinating, are common in men. They may not be due to age or the prostate, but rather may be important markers of serious underlying disease (heart disease, diabetes, and depression) and share risk factors for these conditions (e.g. obesity, high blood pressure, abnormal blood fats, lack of physical activity). This provides health care providers with an important opportunity to promote healthy lifestyle to men, which will improve the condition.

        Contacts

        South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, Royal Adelaide Hospital

        Funding partners

        Royal Adelaide Hospital

        Contributions to clinical practice guidelines & resources 

        Collaborating institutions

        The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, SA; Changi General Hospital, Singapore; New England Research Institute, Watertown, Massachusetts, USA

      • Health services

        Men's poorer health outcomes, when compared to women, are often attributed to an apparent reluctance by men to seek help. Men are however neither disinterested in, nor deliberately neglectful of, their health. Research shows that men access, interpret, respond to and act upon health information in different ways to women. Our research aims to improve the design and delivery of health services to better meet the needs and preferences of Australian men, and to equip health service providers and services with strategies to optimally engage men in discussion about their health and well-being.

        Contacts

        Collaborating institutions

        SA Health, Government of South Australia; Health Male

      • Rural health

        Farming is physically and psychologically hazardous, and farmers' levels of personal and economic success are largely dependent upon factors beyond their control (e.g. weather, commodity prices, disease). Australian farmers are known for their independence, stoicism and skill at solving practical problems and so we work closely with Australian farmers and industry groups to come up with interventions that help them better cope with things beyond their control, prevent mental health issues and reduce their attitudinal barriers to accessing professional health and mental health help. To this end the research team has developed www.ifarmwell.com.au,  a free, self-help website designed to support Australian farmers’ mental well-being. 

        Contacts

        Funding partners

        National Australian Bank; Rural Business Support Agency; Freemasons Foundation; University of South Australia 

        Collaborating institutions

        University of South Australia; National Centre for Farmer Health (NCFH) - Deakin University, VIC; Flinders University of South Australia, SA; National Australia Bank; Primary Producers SA; SA Health

      • Sleep health - obstructive sleep apnoea

        Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a condition where the airways block off during sleep, depriving the person of oxygen, and which may occur many times per night. Being tested and treated for OSA is important as it is associated with serious conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and depression, and men with OSA are at greater risk of work-place injury and car accidents. In Australia's largest home based sleep study of 900 men not previously diagnosed with OSA, 52% of men had OSA and in 26% it was moderate to severe necessitating treatment.  The challenge to better clinical, cost-effective care is to correctly identify men with OSA who are at risk of long-term health problems and therefore require treatment.

        Contacts

        Funding partners

        National Health and Medical Research Council; The Hospital Research Foundation; Freemasons Foundation, ResMed Foundation

        Collaborating institutions

        The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, SA; Adelaide Institute of Sleep Health, Flinders University of South Australia, SA; Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, The University of Sydney, NSW

      • MNBCF Transforming therapy for breast and prostate cancer

        This collaborative program is aimed at developing a ground-breaking new treatment strategy that rehabilitates, rather than completely abolishes, the abnormal hormone receptors that drive breast and prostate cancer, essentially changing them from tumour-promoting to benign.

        Go to the MNBCF webpage for more information.