Prostate Cancer Research Group
Prostate cancer is a major public health issue in Australia and a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in men.
The most important issues in prostate cancer research are (1) to develop more effective and targeted therapies for metastatic prostate cancer, (2) to improve the ability to distinguish indolent from aggressive forms of prostate cancer at diagnosis in order to prevent unnecessary over-treatment and (3) to develop more accurate ways of monitoring response to therapy.
Research performed by the Prostate Cancer Research Group, led by Professor Lisa Butler is making significant impacts on these key priority areas in the field. A cornerstone of her research has been the development of a novel pre-clinical model of prostate cancer that utilises human tissue cultured as explants, enabling generation of data that few others in the world are able to achieve.
Importantly, because this model provides highly clinically relevant data that is not achievable with traditional cell line or animal models, work performed with the explant model will greatly enhance selection of drugs and biomarkers which progress to clinical trials. Her work is using this model to assess the clinical potential of new drugs which target heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90), identifying novel targets to use in combinatorial treatment approaches to improve the efficacy of standard androgen receptor targeting drugs.
A Movember Revolutionary Team Award project headed by Prof Butler is also using this model to identify lipid biomarkers that can be used to improve diagnosis, treatment and molecular imaging of prostate cancer.