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APCRC-Q Researchers Receive NHMRC Development Grant Funding

Professor Colleen Nelson and Professor Pamela Russell, from the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre - Queensland (APCRC-Q), together with Professor Bradley Walsh and Dr Douglas Campbell, from Australian industry partner, Minomic International Ltd (Minomic), secured a National Health and Medical Research Council Development Grant, which will provide $703,540 in funding over the next three years.

The grant will assist with ground-breaking research into a new, more accurate test for prostate cancer, using technology developed by Minomic. This could lead to more accurate diagnosis and management of the disease.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer-related death in Australian men, after lung cancer, accounting for about one-third of cancers diagnosed. One in five men over the age of 50 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and each year 3,300 Australians die from the most aggressive forms of the disease.

This project, entitled: Novel prostate cancer target for diagnosis, imaging, detection of recurrence and response to therapy, will generate the critical new data for a novel, non-invasive test, developed by Minomic, and provide information concerning the potential of a new biomarker for imaging and treatment of late stage prostate cancer.

Professor Nelson, Executive Director of the APCRC-Q explains: "Our project aims to explore how this newly developed target can be better used for early detection, diagnosis, and monitoring of prostate cancer. We will also investigate the extent to which it can be used as both a new prostate cancer therapy and an imaging agent to monitor treatment and improve prostate cancer management with significant economic benefit to the healthcare system."

Chief Executive Officer of Minomic, Professor Walsh, said a recently completed 300 patient clinical study had shown "very promising results".

"Minomic is commercialising a non-invasive test that detects a protein found on prostate cancer cells, producing a more accurate diagnosis."

"The project will support further development of this novel biomarker in prostate cancer, which would bring significant benefit in terms of improving diagnosis, particularly of aggressive forms of the disease," he said.

If successful, the new test will require only a simple blood or urine sample, be quick, and non-invasive, and be performed in standard pathology labs. This means that patients who need treatment would receive it sooner, and those who don't would be spared the suffering and trauma of false positives.

The Development Grant forms part of $15.2 million in grants supporting the commercial development of products, processes and procedures which may result in positive health outcomes for Australians, announced by the National Health and Medical Research Council. 

NHMRC CEO Professor Warwick Anderson explained the importance of these grants for translating research into positive health outcomes. 

“Many of these grants are supported by leading Australian biotechnology companies which contribute intellectual property advice, salaries to support researchers, access to equipment and marketing expertise,” Professor Anderson said. “This collaboration is crucial to the translation of research and the creation of new industries in Australia.”

The full press release from NHMRC can be found here: 
http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/media/releases/2015/new-grants-support-research-commercialisation