Potential for prostate cancer breakthrough
A new angle on prostate cancer research aims to find better ways to treat the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Australian men.
Prostate cancer is highly curable but treatment can have traumatic side effects and it may not always be needed.
Our researchers are exploring the role of lipids, or fatty acids, within cancerous tumours. They believe this may help develop a test to accurately determine which tumours need treatment and which are unlikely to spread and just need to be monitored.
Many Australian men find it difficult to make the decision to go ahead with prostate cancer treatment because the need for it is currently so unclear. The current treatment available can also lead to impotence, infertility and incontinence.
“Currently we treat 50 men in order to save one because unfortunately, we can’t yet pinpoint the one man who really needs treatment,” says lead researcher Professor Lisa Butler.
Making the test more precise will make the treatment decision much easier.
Professor Butler’s groundbreaking work feeds in to worldwide research into the genetic basis of prostate cancer.
But her approach is unique and could provide a missing link to information about the way cancers behave.
“Lipids show a lot of potential as new biomarkers for aggressive tumours. It’s a really exciting time for prostate cancer research,” Professor Butler says.
Her research also looks into the role of hormones and obesity in development of prostate cancer and how to predict the potential spread of cancer after prostate surgery.With 18,000 cases of prostate cancer detected in Australia alone each year, this research could make a big difference for a lot of people.
Professor Lisa Butler
Cancer Council Principal Research Fellow at the Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men’s Health
Head of the Prostate Cancer Research Group at SAHMRI
Adelaide Medical School
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences