$12.26 million boost for cancer research

Thousands of men with prostate cancer will benefit from significantly improved treatment as part of a $12.26 million NSW Government investment in cancer research.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said almost 6,000 men in NSW will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year.

“It is both the second-biggest cancer killer in men after lung cancer and the cancer most likely to lead to unnecessary, aggressive treatment,” Mr Hazzard said.

“It’s great that we are getting better at early detection, but too many men are being left with debilitating side effects from over-treatment that is impacting their everyday life.

“That’s why $3.75 million of this new funding is being invested in groundbreaking research to not only better target treatments but ultimately reduce deaths from prostate cancer within five years.”

Researchers from the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney and St Vincent’s Clinic are developing new imaging techniques.

Chief Cancer Officer and CEO of the Cancer Institute NSW, Professor David Currow, said there is still no way of determining which early-stage prostate cancers will become life-threatening and therefore need aggressive treatments.

“We want to be able to detect which cancers should be treated aggressively because side effects can greatly impact quality of life and include conditions such as incontinence and erectile dysfunction,” said Professor Currow.

“The researchers will also trial new ways to treat men with advanced prostate cancer, including trialing treatments on the man’s own cancer cells, using genetic biomarkers to predict how his disease will respond to different treatments and new drug therapies.”

The $12.26 million of research funding also includes $8.5 million to support early and mid-career researchers working across the cancer spectrum, including in pancreatic cancer, leukaemia and melanoma.