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2012 Aus-CanPCRA Symposium - Registration now closes 30th March!

The Australian-Canadian Prostate Cancer Research Alliance (Aus-Can PCRA) Symposium will be held in North Queensland's Daydream Island from Friday 13th to Monday 16th April 2012.

The Aus-Can PCRA's annual Symposium will once again present a great opportunity for those in the prostate cancer research field to meet with other researchers and collaborators.

The Aus-Can PCRA is a network of Australian and Canadian academic, scientific, clinical and professional experts and scholars working in the area of prostate cancer and it gives us great pleasure to organise the 2012 transnational meeting with the cooperation of our members.

The 2012 Symposium agenda will again be structured to provide ample opportunity to discuss collaborations and new innovative research between Canadian and Australian prostate cancer research communities.

Program information will be made available via our website as it is finalised.

Spaces are limited and registrations close 30th March 2012.  Secure your place now!

Apply for Registration now!

 

Daydream Island aerial 597

2013 Aus-CanPCRA Symposium

Save the Date – August 14 – 17, 2013 – Port Douglas area of Tropical North Queensland

On behalf of the Australian-Canadian Prostate Cancer Research Alliance, it is my pleasure to invite you to the Aus-Can PCRA Symposium being held in the Port Douglas area of Tropical North Queensland, Australia from Wednesday 14th to Saturday 17th August 2013. This will be a satellite meeting following the Prostate Cancer World Congress being held in Melbourne August 6th - 10th, 2013.

The 2013 Symposium agenda will again be structured to provide ample opportunity to discuss collaborations and new innovative research between Canadian and Australian prostate cancer research communities.

As you are aware, the Aus-Can PCRA is a network of Australian and Canadian academic, scientific, clinical and professional experts and scholars working in the area of prostate cancer and it gives us great pleasure to organise the 2013 transnational meeting with the cooperation of our members.

Formal and informal networking opportunities will give you a chance to more fully develop collaborative work, a cornerstone of the Aus-Can PCRA’s mission.

Further information will be published mid March.

Sincerely,
Professor Colleen Nelson
On behalf of the
Australian-Canadian Prostate Cancer Research Alliance

2013 Young Tall Poppy Science Awards

now open and accepting from all fields of science and technology in all states and territories - nominations close midnight AEST 29 April 2013

Visit http://www.aips.net.au/tall-poppies/nominations-2013/ for the nomination form,
eligibility and selection details.

For more information: T 02 9351 0818 E admin@aips.net.au

2017 ASMR Queensland Health & Medical Research Awards for Dr Vela and Dr Bock

Dr Ian Vela and Dr Nathalie Bock were both awarded ASMR Queensland Health and Medical Research Awards.

The winners of the 2017 ASMR Queensland Health & Medical Research Awards were announced on Friday 30 May 2017. The APCRC-Q won two of three research categories, and had a finalist in the other. This is an outstanding achievement.

Congratulations to Dr Ian Vela who won the Clinical Researcher Award and Dr Nathalie Bock who won the Postdoctoral Researcher Award. A/Prof Jyotsna Batra, was a finalist in the Senior Researcher category.

A/Prof Derek Richard and DProf Judith Clements ARC grant success

Associate Professor Derek Richard and Distinguished Professor Judith Clements are investigators on a successful Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage, Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) grant, led by the University of Queensland (UQ), which will provide QUT-based users access to one of the world's most powerful fluorescent microscopes.

The Lattice LightSheet microscope, manufactured by 3i, produces an ultra-thin light sheet to achieve single-molecule sensitivity in fixed or live cells.
The microscope will be installed at UQ and will be capable of conducting analyses of  biological samples in systems spanning four orders of magnitude in space and time.
Additionally, the microscope’s unparalleled speed, sensitivity and low toxicity to cells, permits extended time-lapse experiments to be carried out on fluorescently labelled proteins.
For example, T-cell (orange) and Target cell (blue) in the image were filmed with 430 time points, taken 1.3 seconds apart.
See the video at https://vimeo.com/109402660

A/Prof Jyotsna Batra featured in Newspaper in India

A/Prof Jyostna Batra received media coverage while in India last month for the International Conference on Translational Research.

A/Prof Jyotsna Batra named Cure Cancer Australia's Researcher of the Year 2018

A/Prof Jyotsna Batra received the 2018 Cure Cancer Australia Researcher of the Year Award at a ceremony in Sydney in late May, in recognition of her work in identifying genetic variations that predispose men to prostate cancer.

“By analysing the DNA of around 50,000 individuals, half of which belongs to prostate cancer patients, we’ve identified 100 genetic variations associated with prostate cancer risk”, she says. “They can collectively explain about 30% of the inherited component of the disease.”

Jyotsna’s research focusses on how gene sequences, when used in conjunction with the traditional Prostate-Specific Antigen blood test, can be used to identify men predisposed to prostate cancer.  

"I am extremely grateful to Cure Cancer Australia for this award,” said Jyotsna. “This funding has given me the freedom to carry out novel and advanced research, which wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.”

Jyotsna has received three previous Grants from CCA, which helped establish her lab and undertake some innovative research.

This recognition will further her prostate cancer research as she makes the transition from an early career researcher to the mid-career phase. This Award will also enable Jyotsna to attend an international Conference to disseminate her research findings to broader audience. Read more on the Cure Cancer Australia website.

A Sweet Success: APCRC-Q hosts a PA Research Foundation High Tea

On Tuesday 3 March 2015, the APCRC-Q hosted one of the first PA High Teas for the year.

The High Tea was held on the seventh floor of the Translational Research Institute (TRI) on the Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) campus. Members of the TRI and PAH were treated to a host of delicious sweet and savoury treats and a wide variety of delectable teas – complete with china cups and plates.

The PA High Tea is an annual fundraising initiative where participants host a High Tea in exchange for donations from invited guests. The purpose of the event is to raise funds for valuable medical research conducted at the PA Hospital’s research campus. Two hundred dollars was raised at the APCRC-Q High Tea in support of this worthy cause.

“As one of the beneficiaries of funding from the PA Research Foundation, we are happy to be able to assist in their fund raising efforts,” said Prof Colleen Nelson, APCRC-Q’s Executive Director.

 There is still time to host a PA High Tea of your own. Simply: 1: Register your PA High Tea. 2: Choose a date and venue 3: Send out invitations. 4: Enjoy your event! For more information, please visit the PA High Tea website.

News

All the latest news from the APCRC-Q.

News - Read More…

Collaboration and Exhibition Success for APCRC-Q

Professor Colleen Nelson and Dr Patrick Ling, both representing The Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre – Queensland (APCRC-Q) and the Australian Canadian Prostate Cancer Research Alliance (AusCanPCRA), recently attended the reputable ICMAN5 conference. These two leaders in the field of prostate cancer exhibited some of their current research at the event that ran from the 13th to the 15th of October 2011.
Collaboration and Exhibition Success for APCRC-Q

Prof Colleen Nelson, Prof Ron Quinn and Dr Peter Eck

ICMAN5, held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre in Brisbane Australia, marked the Fifth International Conference on Mechanisms of Action of Nutraceuticals.

The conference attracted a wide selection of professionals, discussing the latest research in nutraceuticals and complementary medicines. Attendees ranged from leading international researchers, clinicians, and pharmacists, as well as industry and government leaders.

Prof Zee Upton (QUT), Prof Jenny Martin (UQ), Dr Naveed Khan (Griffith Enterprise), Prof Colleen Nelson (APCRC-Q), John Mickel MP, The Hon Peter Beattie, Prof Peter Howe (UniSA), Prof Michael Fenech (CSIRO)
Prof Zee Upton (QUT), Prof Jenny Martin (UQ), Dr Naveed Khan (Griffith Enterprise), Prof Colleen Nelson (APCRC-Q), John Mickel MP, The Hon Peter Beattie, Prof Peter Howe (UniSA), Prof Michael Fenech (CSIRO)

Mario Pennisi is the Chief Executive Officer of the Queensland Clinical Trials Network and ICMAN 5 organiser as well as a member of the AusCan Alliance, and was delighted with the attendance and contribution of fellow Alliance members.

Prof Colleen Nelson (APCRC-Q), Mario Pennisi (Life Sciences Qld), Lee Anne Murphy (MAHRN Canada)
Prof Colleen Nelson (APCRC-Q), Mario Pennisi (Life Sciences Qld), Lee Anne Murphy (MAHRN Canada)

“No-one knows where the next breakthrough will come from, but we do know that minds that are open to new ideas and suggestions as to how challenges may be met are most likely to be the ones who succeed,” he said.

“Success comes from collaboration and the sharing of ideas, seen through the involvement of Dr Vasundara Venkateswaran at ICMAN5, certainly contributing to the prospect of new ideas and opportunities being born.”

Plenary sessions, breakout seminars, posters, and trade exhibitions allowed the delegates to discuss the development of therapies preventing and treating chronic disease and conditions.

This was the first time ICMAN has been held in the Southern Hemisphere, and in the Asia-Pacific Region, and the APCRC-Q caught up with organisers and attendees to find out what the conference meant to them and their research efforts in this challenging field.

Dr Patrick Ling
Dr Patrick Ling (APCRC-Q)

Dr Patrick Ling is the Vice Chancellor Fellow for APCRC-Q and enjoyed the conference immensely.

“The conference was fantastic as it contained speakers from both industry and research fields. This proved a great opportunity for APCRC-Q to gain exposure to potential collaborations and commercial sectors,” Dr Ling said.

The researcher particularly enjoyed the sessions on vitamin D and cancer, adding that there are still plenty of controversial issues about the topics. Dr Ling also found discussion on commercialisation and funding opportunities, in regards to research and nutraceuticals, of specific interest.

When asked the value that he places on conferences such as ICMAN, Dr Ling stated that these events present great openings to match research scientists and commercial partners. He believes conferences are professionally beneficial for showcasing research.

“Apart from the learning opportunities on the exciting research being conducted in this area, I have met with at least three potential collaborators, two of which are within the food industry,” he said.

“Conferences allow us to attract collaboration, these particular researchers were all impressed with the capabilities of APCRC-Q after viewing the research posters.”

The APCRC-Q booth attracted much interest from attendees who were eager to learn more about the clinical research occurring at APCRC-Q, proving that the exhibition of research aids in raising awareness and support.

Dr Ling gave a glowing report of the event, although commented that he would like to see a larger section on cancer next year.

Dr Patrick Ling on the Australian Canadian Prostate Cancer Research Alliance:

Dr Ling has been involved in the Australian Canadian Prostate Cancer Research Alliance (AusCanPCRA) since 2009.

When asked about the highlights of his involvement, the Doctor responded favourably,

“I attended the AusCan Alliance meeting last year, which I found to be a great event as I had the chance to meet world leading researchers from North America. I was also exposed to innovative ideas which have helped me to build my own research direction,” he said.

The researcher is impressed with the ways in which the alliance promotes prostate cancer research, believing that it synergized the expertise both Australia and Canada contain, speeding up research on this topic.

Dr Ling is particularly delighted with personal profiles within the AusCanPCRA website in which each researcher has a platform they can use to contact potential collaborators.

Dr Ling envisages joint grant applications for international research funding through the Alliance in the upcoming future.

Vasundara Venkateswaran
Dr Vasundara Venkateswaran (UToronto)

Australian Canadian Prostate Cancer Research Alliance member, Dr Vasundara Venkateswaran - Associate Professor within the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto and Division of Urology at Sunnybrook Health Science Centre in Toronto - also attended the ICMAN conference and spoke on her work in dietary agents in relation to prostate cancer.

During her visit to Australia, Dr Venkateswaran also spoke at the APCRC-Q’s regular Seminar Series, receiving a warm welcome and positive feedback on her research from attendees.

The researcher enjoyed the ICMAN conference, stating that it was excellent and very informative as well as a great opportunity to network.

Jeff Greenwood (NZ Inst for Plant & Food Research), Aaron Etra (Int Council of ICMAN), Dr Vasundara Venkateswaran (UToronto)
Jeff Greenwood (NZ Inst for Plant & Food Research), Aaron Etra (Int Council of ICMAN), Dr Vasundara Venkateswaran (UToronto)

When asked about the value of conferences such as this, Dr Venkateswaran rated the conference as excellent and diverse, covering a wide range of topics.

She would anticipate more on cancer in the years to come.

“All of the sessions were great in terms of novel/effective agents, although they were not all focussed on the development of therapies for the treatment of chronic diseases,” she said.

“Having said that, there were specific sessions wherein the focus was on dietary agents in inflammation and inflammation associated carcinogenesis, cardiac, cancer, metabolic syndrome etc.”

“The key is looking at these agents in terms of their translational potential and the conference met these requirements,” Dr Venkateswaran said.

The researcher believes that conferences provide a great opportunity to showcase work in order to attract collaborators.

Dr Vasundara Venkateswaran on the Australian Canadian Prostate Cancer Research Alliance:

Dr Vasundara Venkateswaran has been a member of the AusCan Alliance since its’ inception in 2008 and greatly enjoyed visiting the prostate centre in Brisbane as well as interacting with the team there.

Mr Pennisi was pleased to have the Scientist on board for the conference.

“The international set of speakers at ICMAN5 was augmented by the international networks of the Aus-Can PCRAlliance, with Professor Colleen Nelson’s suggestion of a speaker of the highest quality in Dr Venkateswaran,” he said.

“She made a significant contribution to the success of ICMAN5 and we were so pleased that Vasu Venkateswaran was able to accept our invitation.”

Dr Venkateswaran lists the AusCan Symposium held at the Gold Coast in 2010 as a highlight of her involvement with the Alliance.

When asked how she believes the Alliance contributes to promoting prostate cancer research, the Scientist replied that the organisation brings together researchers with similar interest.

“The Alliance provides an efficient and professional way to collaborate and sustain interaction,” she said.

Dr Venkateswaran looks forward to her future within the AusCan Alliance and reflects positively on her involvement thus far.

“It was a great opportunity to be here at the Queensland University of Technology to render seminars and interact with the faculties and researchers,” she said.

“I would like to see myself being involved in the Alliance to a greater degree and would at some point consider being part of the APCRC-Q.”

The researcher would like to see more opportunities for scientists like herself to spend a year or two mutual exchange between Canada and Australia at the level of students and post doctoral fellows.

Stay tuned for more exciting interviews with the dedicated members of the AusCan Alliance.

Prof Ron Quinn (Griffith Uni), Prof Colleen Nelson (APCRC-Q)
Prof Ron Quinn (Griffith Uni), Prof Colleen Nelson (APCRC-Q)

Prof Colleen Nelson (APCRC-Q), Dr Roger Stanley (QAAFI, UQ), Mario Pennisi (Life Sciences Qld)
Prof Colleen Nelson (APCRC-Q), Dr Roger Stanley (QAAFI, UQ), Mario Pennisi (Life Sciences Qld)

APCRC-Q celebrates International Women's Day

The Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre – Queensland (APCRC-Q) joined a host of organisations around the world in honouring the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present, and future by celebrating International Women's Day (IWD) on Sunday 8 March 2015.

Despite the masculine nature of its research, APCRC-Q is led by a team comprised largely of women. Almost sixty percent of APCRC-Q’s staff and students are female, and women are well represented at all levels and across a diverse range of positions within the Centre.  

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is “Make It Happen” -  encouraging effective action for advancing and recognising women. This aligns very well with the ethos of the APCRC-Q where almost half of the Centre’s research leaders are dynamic and internationally acclaimed female scientists and clinicians, who provide a rich source of inspiration and mentorship to young women pursuing careers in biomedical research and medicine. These leaders are indeed “making it happen” – both by championing women in science and also by leading the way in prostate cancer research.

Prof Colleen Nelson (Executive Director), DProf Judith Clements (Scientific Director), together with Prof Pamela Russell, Prof Lisa Chopin, Prof Patsy Yates, A/Prof Elizabeth Williams, Dr Sally-Anne Stephenson, Dr Jyotsna Batra, and Dr Jennifer Gunter, are at the forefront of Australia’s largest team of prostate cancer researchers, dedicated to improving prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment.

“We are passionate about mentoring and encouraging young women within the scientific community,” said Executive Director, Prof Colleen Nelson. “As many as sixty-four percent of our higher degree research students and fifty-two percent of our early career researchers are women.”

Their efforts have yielded excellent results, with several of APCRC-Q women scientists receiving grants, accolades and awards in recognition of their success in prostate cancer research. Notably, Dr Natalie Bock recently won the 2015 Women in Technology (WiT) PhD Career Start Postgraduate Biotechnology Award  and QUT was presented with the 2015 WiT Employer of Choice Award.  In 2012, DProf Judith Clements took home the WiT Life Sciences Outstanding Achievement Award, and in 2013, Dr Jyotsna Batra was a finalist for the WiT Rising Star Award.

“On International Women’s Day we take the opportunity to reflect on and be grateful for the efforts of fair-minded men and women in the past, who have made it possible for women to be able to advance, succeed, and be recognised for our contributions within in the traditionally patriarchal world of science.” said DProf Judith Clements.

 IWD is celebrated at thousands of events held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements. Members of the APCRC-Q annually take part in a variety of these events in and around Brisbane, including the RACQ 5km International Women’s Day Fun Run.

APCRC-Q Grant Success

The APCRC-Q has much to celebrate as 2013 draws to a close with awards and grants conferred on many of our members.

NHMRC Project Grant Recipients and more…

Highly competitive NHMRC Project Grants were awarded to Assoc Prof Derek Richard, Dr Emma Bolderson, Prof Ken O’Byrne and Dr Liza Cubeddu for their work on: hSSB1: A key regulator of genome stability and potential cancer therapeutic target.

While a second Project Grant went to Assoc Prof Lisa Chopin, Prof Adrian Herington, Prof Chen Chen, Dr Inge Seim, and Dr Rakesh Naduvile Veedu who will continue investigating: The ghrelin axis as a target for prostate cancer therapy.

Dr Michael Doran’s success included a Cancer Australia grant with  Dr Ingrid Gabriele Winkler, Assoc Prof Jean-Pierre Levesque for their project: Mimicking the HSC niche and enabling HSC self-renewal in vitro and a Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia New Concept Grant to continue his project: Engineering a High-Throughput Prostate Cancer Stem Cell Niche Mimic.

In addition, Dr Jyotsna Batra, Distinguished Prof Judith Clements, Dr Amanda Spurdle, Prof Colleen Nelson, Dr John Lai, Dr Luke Selth, Dr Melanie Lehman, Dr Rodney Webb and Prof Rosalind Eeles were awarded Cancer Australia funding for their project: miRSNPs as novel diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for prostate cancer.

Dr Peter Heathcote led a successful grant application that received funding from the Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation to conduct an evaluation of PSMA-based PET and MRI for the detection of multiple cancer foci in localized prostate cancer patients.

Assoc Prof Elizabeth Williams, Prof Pamela Russell and Prof Colleen Nelson were awarded funding as part of the Movember Global Action Plan 1 Xenografting Project.

Cancer Council Queensland Grants

Prof Colleen Nelson, Dr Jennifer Gunter, Prof Ken Ho, Dr Brett Hollier and their collaborators from the  Princess Alexandra Hospital and Trinity College Dublin were awarded funding for their research: Characterising insulin signalling in androgen-deprived prostate cancer cells.

Distinguished Prof Judith Clements led a successful grant team investigating: KLK4 is a key regulator of the reactive stromal microenvironment in prostate cancer.

Dr Derek Richard, Dr Emma Bolderson, Prof Ken O'Byrne, Dr Liza Cubeddu, Prof Martin F Lavin also received funding from Cancer Council Queensland to investigate: Banf1: A critical regulator of the ageing process and genome stability.

PA Research Foundation Grant Success

Congratulations also go to Prof Colleen Nelson who led a successful grant team to investigate: Targeting leptin in prostate cancer progression; linking metabolic dysfunction and castrate resistance.

Prof Colleen Nelson, Dr Brett Hollier, Dr Jennifer Gunter, Dr Simon Wood, and Prof Ken Ho were also awarded the 2014 PA Research Support Scheme Spirit Group Prostate Cancer Research Project Grant for their project titled: Pilot study to evaluate the prognostic and metabolic benefits of metformin during androgen deprivation therapy in metastatic prostate cancer.

IHBI Inspires Poster and Presentation Awards

Finally, congratulations go to PhD Students, Patrick Thomas, Phoebe Sarkar and Esha Shah, for their poster awards at the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation’s Inspires Postgraduate Research Conference on 28 and 29 November. Patrick was awarded the Best Poster Presentation with Phoebe named runner-up, and Esha won the Real World Application prize for her oral presentation.

APCRC-Q's Executive Director, Prof Colleen Nelson congratulated all the successful investigators. "This funding enables APCRC-Q to continue to build its research capacity and collaborative translational research to improve the clinical management of prostate cancer in Australia" she said.

APCRC-Q leads a Revolutionary Team Award

APCRC-Q is leading a team of 39 investigators that have been awarded one of Australia’s first Revolutionary Team Awards for advanced prostate cancer research. The $4.25 million award was recently announced by the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.

MRTA Team

Funded by The Movember Foundation, this Revolutionary Team Award will extend APCRC-Q’s national and international collaborations.  With investigators from seven Australian research  institutions in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide, in addition to researchers in Canada, Ireland and the USA, the trans‐disciplinary team will investigate treatment resistance to the largest class of inhibitors currently used to treat prostate cancer (Androgen Targeted Therapies or ATT).

Professor Colleen Nelson, APCRC-Q’s Executive Director and Leader of the Movember Revolutionary Team said “Our Team’s ultimate goal is to determine adaptive pathways inadvertently activated by ATT which can be targeted to strategically be used in combination or in sequence with ATTs to improve outcomes in advanced prostate cancer”.

 The team will be closely engaged with the other Australian Movember Revolutionary Team based from Sydney, who are studying prostate cancer cell dormancy in metastatic disease.

“I’m delighted that this collaborative programme recognises the significant benefits of sharing expertise and data across a trans-disciplinary team focused on a common goal.  We are looking forward to improving clinical treatment options and outcomes for advanced prostate cancer patients” Professor Nelson said.

APCRC-Q 2013 Mo King

Congratulations to APCRC-Q's 2013 Mo King - Dr Raja Vasireddy!

The APCRC-Q team celebrated the close of the 2013 Movember activities with a Mourning the Mo Morning tea.  With more 28 members, our team raised over $4600!

 

 

 

 

Our Mo growing Mo Bros at our Mourning the Mo Morning Tea

Our 2013 MO growing Mo Bros

From left to right: Stephen McPherson, Raja Vasireddy, Gregor Tevz, John Lai, Varinder Jeet, Jiyuan An (not present Brian Tse, Mike Doran, Patrick Thomas)

Movember 2013 Award winners

2013 Movember Award Winners


Patrick Thomas won the Mo Raiser award for his champion fundraising effort and Brian Tse won the Mo Encouragement award.


Thank you!

The APCRC-Q Movember Team would like to thank everyone who supported our 2013 fund raising efforts.

Thank you also to all the family and friends who supported our Mo Growing Bros!

APCRC-Q’s MO-MENTOUS MOVEMBER

APCRC-Q launched its Movember team last week and has already raised almost $3000!

In keeping with this year’s ‘Made In Movember’ theme, the Morning Tea Stall at the Team Launch was a huge success with an amazing selection of home-made savoury and sweet delicacies sold at the Translational Research Institute and Princess Alexandra Hospital

More fundraising events are planned with a Cupcake Stall on Wednesday 12 November and a Wine Tasting on Thursday 27 November.  Please support the APCRC-Q Mo Bros and Mo Sistas by donating now!

As the proud beneficiary of over $8 million of funds raised by Movember, APCRC-Q is also spreading the word about its research and raising awareness of prostate cancer throughout Queensland.  Dr Brett Hollier and Dr Rohan Davis are travelling to Rockhampton later this month as invited guests of the Rockhampton Prostate Cancer Support Group.

Mo2014 MT MoBros

APCRC-Q moves into high-tech Translational Research Institute Building

The APCRC-Q recently relocated to newly completed research facilities at the $300 million Translational Research Institute (TRI) on the Princess Alexandra Hospital Campus.

Team work key to smooth relocation

Team work and excellent logistical organisation contributed to the success of the move which saw researchers able to continue their work in the new laboratories within days of arriving at the new site.

The move took place in two stages with researchers from the PA Hospital site moving across in late December and their colleagues from Kelvin Grove Campus joining them in mid-January.

TRI lab space

TRI provides unique collaborative opportunities

TRI atrium
The new seven-storey, 32,000-square-metre TRI building comprises five floors of laboratory research plus facilities for research support, administration, and teaching. Providing researchers with access to state-of-the-art equipment, and hence offering the capability to develop new therapeutic technologies and take these from the laboratory through to clinical and commercial development.

“TRI brings together the collective intellect of over 650 researchers from the University of Queensland, the Queensland University of Technology, Mater Research and Princess Alexandra Centres for Health Research to discover, produce, test and manufacture new treatments and vaccines in one location,” said Minister for Science and Innovation, Ros Bates, after conducting a site tour of the facility on 10 January 2013.

This is an Australian first, with four of the country’s pinnacle research facilities working together to improve and accelerate medical research and translate that research into improved patient care.

The Institute combines academic medicine and translational research, in order to minimise the time between a laboratory discovery and its effective application in the clinic and the community.

“The strong focus on rapid translation of research into clinical and commercial application aligns perfectly with the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre - Queensland’s vision to develop new therapeutics and predictive biomarkers, via a collaborative, trans-disciplinary, translational approach,” said Prof Colleen Nelson, APCRC-Q’s Executive Director.

“Local, national, and international collaborations are at the heart of our research activities, and in the TRI we have an excellent opportunity work closely with our fellow researchers across a broad spectrum of interrelated areas,” she added.

Prof Judith Clements, Scientific Director of APCRC-Q and Head of the IHBI’s  Cancer Program, is also enthusiastic about the move.

“This move greatly facilitates the QUT Cancer Program’s efforts to gain a better understanding of the molecular and cellular basis for the development and progression of cancers, such as prostate, breast, ovary, endometrial and lung,” she said.

TRI side lab space

APCRC - Q part of New Gamma-Tocotrienol Study

The Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre - Queensland, the University of Hong Kong, and Davos researchers have found that gamma-tocotrienol is potent in killing prostate cancer stem cells.
APCRC - Q part of New Gamma-Tocotrienol Study

Dr Patrick Ling

A member of the Vitamin E family, gamma-tocotrienol is derived naturally from palm oil.

Prostate cancer stem cells are reponsible for prostate cancer initiation, and are resistant to conventional chemotherapy drugs.

The study, partly led by the APCRC - Q's Dr Patrick (Ming-Tat) Ling, aims to find a way to eradicate these stem cells. The latest findings showcase the potential of gamma-tocotrienol as a natural remedy for preventing and treating prostate cancer. Low doses of gamma-tocotrienol cause apoptosis in prostate cancer stem cells, suppressing their ability to form colonies. This then results in a lower prostate cancer stem cell count.

So far, these results suggest that gamma-tocotrienol could be developed for prostate cancer prevention and treatment.

These findings were reported in the latest edition of the International Journal of Cancer (IJC).

APCRC-Q PhD students enjoy funding success

APCRC-Q PhD candidates, Mr Kai Dun Tang, and Ms Ash Upadhyaya recently received funding to assist them with their studies.

Kai Dun Tang won two travel awards. He was awarded a £1,000 Company of Biologists Travel Award from the National Cancer Research Institute in the United Kingdom. This award was used to enable Mr Tang to attend the 2014 NCRI Cancer Conference in Liverpool in early November 2014.

Mr Tang also received a $2,500 travel award from Cancer Council Queensland. This grant-in-aid assisted his attendance at the 26th EORTC-NCI-AACR Symposium on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapies in Barcelona, Spain in late November 2014.

At both international conferences, Mr Tang presented a poster entitled: “Tie-2 regulates the stemness of prostate cancer cells”. “I am honoured to have won these travel awards and I am grateful for the opportunity to to present our findings that the rare population of prostate cancer cells (known as cancer stem cells) which express the Tie2-protein, play an important role in the development of drug resistance and prostate tumour metastasis,” said Mr Tang.

“This work has important implications as we believe that Tie-2 might represent a novel therapeutic target for treatment of advanced prostate cancer patients,” he added.

In December 2014, APCRC-Q PhD candidate Ash Upadhyaya was awarded an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) from QUT to support her research training.

APA scholarships are awarded to students of exceptional research promise, and the stipend will support Ash as she continues with her studies investigating the role of prostate cancer cell plasticity in the response to chemotherapy. 

 “Congratulations, Ash,” said A/Prof Elizabeth Williams, Primary Supervisor. “Winning an APA is an awesome achievement, and this is a wonderful recognition of your hard work to date.”

“I feel privileged to have received this scholarship,” said Ash. “I am especially grateful to my supervisors for their help and support, as well as the whole team at APCRC-Q and QUT.”

“I wish to congratulate all our researchers on their grant success,” said Prof Colleen Nelson, Executive Director, APCRC-Q. “These grants are a well-deserved outcome of the APCRC-Q team’s hard work and dedication to producing excellent research.”

 

Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre - Queensland receives $6.2m funding from the Australian Government

The Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre - Queensland (APCRC-Q) will receive $6.2 million in funding from the Australian Government over the next four years as part of a broader Australian Government initiative to extend the network of dedicated prostate cancer research centres across Australia.
Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre - Queensland receives $6.2m funding from the Australian Government

Professor Colleen Nelson and Professor Judith Clements

The recent Federal Budget included funding of $18.5 million over four years to expand the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centres initiative. The APCRC-Q and the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre - Victoria will be extended and receive $6.2 million each. A new Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre will be established at the Kinghorn Cancer Centre in Sydney with an allocation of $5.5 million.

APCRC-Q Executive Director Professor Colleen Nelson said “In 2009 the Government established an unparalleled opportunity with this dedicated prostate cancer health initiative to bring together urologists, oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, biomedical scientists and health economists to work in a team-based environment to translate discoveries into clinical impact.

The synergies created in linking the latest research findings and clinical care will greatly improve the management and outcomes of prostate cancer patients in Australia. We are delighted that this model of research has been recognised and will be built upon with further collaborative efforts across the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centres and throughout the larger prostate cancer research community.”

Professor Judith Clements, APCRC-Q’s Scientific Director said “This funding renewal builds on the initial outcomes of our first five years and recognises the importance of researchers being embedded within a clinical environment to facilitate research into the most important clinically relevant questions. The recent consolidation of our laboratories into the new Translational Research Institute on the Princess Alexandra Hospital campus further strengthens our translational capabilities.”

Working together towards a better future for prostate cancer patients

The APCRC-Q is a joint initiative between Queensland University of Technology's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation and the Princess Alexandra Hospital.

The APCRC-Q’s strength lies in its integrated, trans-disciplinary approach that spans the full spectrum of prostate cancer disease from the development of prostate cancer therapeutics and biomarkers, through to therapeutic response indicators to inform treatment options, and the evaluation of health services and health economics of delivering improved treatments to prostate cancer patients.

Professor Ross Young, QUT’s Faculty of Health Executive Dean said “Our commitment to furthering collaboration between scientists and clinicians in improving the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer is a crucial advance for men’s health.  We applaud the Australian Government’s investment in this internationally significant body of work. The outcomes of this research will be of global significance in terms of future improvements in health and the generation of expertise and new drug therapies.”

APCRC-Q Members

The APCRC-Q is dedicated to the translation of prostate cancer research from bench to bedside, with a strong emphasis on developing national and international collaborations. The Centre brings together a hospital and an academic institution and is a leading example of multi-disciplinary effort within a national research network. This operational model is strongly aligned with the recommendations of the McKeon review of national health and medical research.  The APCRC-Q is pleased to be at the forefront of championing and delivering this model of research to make clinical impact. The Centre is closely integrated with the Princess Alexandra Hospital, the Translational Research Institute and Diamantina Health Partners.

Professor David Theile, Chair of Diamantina Health Partners said “The approach of APCRC-Q which fully integrates scientific research with multidisciplinary practical care of patients gives great advantages in the fight against this very common cancer but also serves as an exemplary model in the bid to control diseases. This is strongly supported by Diamantina Health Partners.”

A multi-disciplinary team addresses the many facets of the disease

APCRC-Q used the initial $7.5m funding from the Australian Government to establish its large, coordinated multidisciplinary research team who will use the additional $6.2 million funding to improve diagnostic tests and treatments and their delivery for men with advanced prostate cancer.

APCRC-Q Research featured in Top Story of Prostate Cell News

Congratulations to Nathalie Bock, Ali Shokoohmand, Thomas Kryza, Joan Röhl, Jonelle Meijer, Phong A. Tran, Colleen C. Nelson, Judith A. Clements and Dietmar W. Hutmacher. Their article entitled: “Engineering osteoblastic metastases to delineate the adaptive response of androgen-deprived prostate cancer in the bone metastatic microenvironment” was featured as Top Story in the 26 April 2019 issue of Prostate Cancer Cell News.

Congratulations to Nathalie Bock, Ali Shokoohmand, Thomas Kryza, Joan Röhl, Jonelle Meijer, Phong A. Tran, Colleen C. Nelson, Judith A. Clements and Dietmar W. Hutmacher. Their article entitled: “Engineering osteoblastic metastases to delineate the adaptive response of androgen-deprived prostate cancer in the bone metastatic microenvironment” was featured as Top Story in the 26 April 2019 issue of Prostate Cancer Cell News.

The article describes how the team has successfully tissue-engineered and validated an in vitro (outside the body) micro-tissue model of osteoblastic bone metastasis. This three-dimensional model of prostate tumour cells growing in a bone-like microenvironment offers a new platform for studying how metastatic prostate cancers respond to therapies.

The model will allow researchers to more readily examine key cellular and microenvironmental interactions between prostate cancer cells and bone-forming osteoblast cells without interference from other biological processes taking place within the body. Hence they will get a clearer picture of how prostate cancer metastasises to bone.

Validation of this model also indicated that the in vitro osteoblastic tumour microenvironment could reproduce some of the cellular changes that take place in vivo (in the body) during androgen deprivation. Cell lines with the greatest bone metastatic potential grew best, and depriving cells of the hormone androgen, led to a more aggressive disease phenotype consistent with that observed in the tumours of men with castration-resistant prostate cancer. The system offers a new way to test for relevant biomarkers and therapeutics in the laboratory.

APCRC-Q Research Shines at IHBI Gala Dinner

APCRC-Q PhD student Ms Nataly Stylianou was one of seven Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI) speakers invited to present their research at the IHBI Gala Dinner on Thursday 25 September.

Ms Stylianou’s presentation showcased her research into finding new therapies to block prostate cancer from spreading to other parts of the body (metastasis).

Ms Stylianou explained that her research involved developing cellular models which will facilitate investigation into cancer metastasis. From the study of this process she hopes to identify critical therapeutic targets that could be used to develop better targeted therapies against prostate cancer metastasis.

 The IHBI Gala Dinner is an annual event celebrating IHBI researchers’ contributions towards creating a healthier Australia. This year the Dinner featured a keynote address from Queensland Minister for Health, the Hon Lawrence Springborg MP.  Other dignitaries joining the celebration included QUT Chancellor Tim Fairfax AM, and QUT Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Coaldrake AO.

APCRC - Q Researcher Wins PCFA Award

Professor Pamela Russell received the inaugural Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia Prize and Lecture for Outstanding Excellence in Prostate Cancer Research Award last night.
APCRC - Q Researcher Wins PCFA Award

Prof Russell with PCFA's John Mills and Graeme Johnson

Presented at the 2010 PCFA National Conference, the $50 000 award celebrated Professor Russell's significant contributions to prostate cancer research in Australia.

Professor Russell joined the APCRC - Q in 2009, and is also the Director of the Oncology Research Centre at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney.

The Conference continues until this evening at the Gold Coast, and is held in conjunction with the 2010 Australian-Canadian Prostate Cancer Research Alliance Symposium.

APCRC-Q Researchers awarded NHMRC and Cancer Council Queensland Grant Funding

APCRC-Q researchers have been awarded over $1.6 million in recent grant announcements. Professor Colleen Nelson and Dr Michael Doran each recently received highly sought-after National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Project Grants. DProf Judith Clements received an extension on her NHMRC Fellowship, and Prof Lisa Chopin has also been awarded a Cancer Council Queensland grant.

Prof Nelson was awarded $780,338 over the next three years to fund her research project entitled: ‘Targeting a master regulator of tumour cell plasticity as a new adjuvant therapy for prostate cancer’.

“Prostate cancer claims the lives of over 3,000 Australian men each year,” said Prof Nelson. “This highlights the urgent need to identify new molecular targets that can be developed as additional therapies for men with prostate cancer.”

“Our study aims to characterise the role of the protein Zeb1 in the lethal progression of prostate cancer and to develop a new therapeutic agent to inhibit the production of Zeb1 by cancer cells.”

Dr Doran’s project entitled: ‘The Microniche: A novel in vitro and in vivo prostate cancer model system’ was awarded $561,012 over three years.

“Maintaining primary prostate cancer cells in vitro remains an enormous challenge for the field, and this obstructs efforts to systematically characterize cell behaviour and quantify drug response,” Dr Doran explains.

“Our group recently developed a 3D organoid culture system that does maintain prostate cancer in vitro, and in this project we will integrate this technology with our 3D bone marrow niche model system to better characterize prostate cancer bone metastases and identify new clinical treatment regimes.”

APCRC-Q Scientific Director, DProf Judith Clements will also receive $150 660 for the sixth year of her ongoing NHMRC Research Fellowship for prostate and ovarian cancer research.

Professor Chopin will receive $200,000 over the next two years from the Cancer Council Queensland to fund her research into the ghrelin receptor antisense long non-coding RNA, GHSROS, as a potential target for prostate cancer therapy.

The 2015 NHMRC Grant Application Round has resulted in the commitment of more than $763 million to fund health and medical research, including 932 new grants to universities, medical research institutions and hospitals across Australia. A full list of results for the 2015 Round is available on the NHMRC website. 

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

APCRC-Q Researchers recognised at 3rd TRI Annual Poster Symposium

Eight APCRC-Q Researchers were recognised for the outstanding quality of their work at the 3rd Annual Translational Research Institute (TRI) Poster Symposium held on 17 September 2015.

The Symposium affords TRI researchers the opportunity to share their findings and collaborate with their colleagues and members of other partner organisations through posters and presentations.

Dr Jennifer Gunter was a keynote speaker and won the Best Mid-Career Researcher Abstract Prize.

In the Early Career Researcher (ECR) category:

-          Dr Brian Tse was awarded the Best ECR Oral Prize for his presentation entitled: Multimodal hyperbranched polymers targeting prostate specific membrane antigen for imaging of prostate cancer.

-          Dr Thomas Kryza presented a poster entitled Modulation of protease expression in prostate cancer cells after Androgen Deprivation Therapy, for which he was awarded the Best ECR Poster Prize.

-          Dr Katrina Sweeney’s poster entitled Elucidating the role of ZEB1 in metastatic castration resistant prostate won Second Prize in the Best ECR Poster competition.

Four APCRC-Q students were also awarded prizes:

-          Ms Janaththani Panchadsaram was awarded the Best Student Oral Presentation for her presentation entitled:An allele-dependent regulation of IRX4 by androgens in prostate cancer

-          Ms Farhana Matin won Third Prize in the Student Oral Presentation competition for her work on MicroRNAs in Plasma: Potential minimally invasive biomarkers for the detection of aggressive prostate cancer

-          Ms Jessica Lisle won Best Student Poster for her work entitled: Proteolysis of the EphB4 receptor in prostate cancer; Does it produce bioactive cleavage fragments.

-          Ms Nataly Stylianou won Second Prize in the Student Poster competition for her work entitled: MErT is enriched in lethal metastatic castrate resistant prostate cancer and correlates with an overall poor prognosis across multiple cancers.

“Well done to all our researchers on their well-deserved achievements,” said Prof Colleen Nelson, Executive Director of the APCRC-Q.

APCRC-Q Researcher Nathalie Bock wins Women in Technology Postgraduate Award

Dr Nathalie Bock was presented with the Women in Technology PhD Career Start Postgraduate Biotechnology Award in front of over 250 people at the WiT Gala dinner held at Cloudland, Brisbane on Friday 5 September.

This year marked the 17th annual Women in Technology (WiT) Awards ceremony honouring the achievements of women working across the technology sector. Awardees ranged from PhD students to those at executive levels and APCRC-Q Research Fellow Dr Nathalie Bock was among those to receive recognition.

“It is an honour to have won this award,” she said after receiving the award at the recent WiT Gala Dinner. “It represents the most invaluable recognition for my PhD work, and gives me confidence and strength to pursue my journey in biotechnology, further evolving my own research ideas and one day translating them into practice.”

 Prof Adrian Herington, Associate Director IHBI (TRI) said, “This significant and very well deserved accomplishment continues a great tradition for QUT’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI) with several researchers having won and/or been finalists in the Women in Technology biotechnology sections over the past few years.”

 APCRC-Q Research Fellow Dr Carolina Soekmadji was a finalist in the WiT Rising Star Award and IHBI’s Executive Director, Prof Lyn Griffiths, was a finalist in the WiT Life Science Outstanding Achievement Award.

 WiT aims to support, develop, recognise, and promote the achievements of women in the technology industries through advocacy, networking events, breakfasts, professional development, mentoring, their Board Readiness Program and the prestigious WiT Awards.

 QUT was awarded the WiT Employer of Choice.  Fifty eight percent of QUT's 7,000 employees are female. Women also make up 38 per cent of the organisation's senior ranks - well above the national university average and fast approaching QUT's own target of 40 per cent by 2016. Recent ICT-related senior appointments have placed women in a number of senior roles, including three of the university's six Executive Dean, the director of QUT's largest research institute, and the Deputy Vice Chancellor who leads QUT's large IT division.

 QUT received recognition for its commitment to bolstering gender equity as a core organisational value, developing a range of flexible work arrangements for all parents, and successfully implementing a range of strategies which provide support for women in the workplace and also eradicate barriers and bias.

The university also has a solid reputation for supporting activities to assist female students studying the traditionally male-dominated fields of science, technology, mathematics and engineering.

Ms Judy Stokker, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor - Technology, Information and Learning Support, accepted the award on behalf of QUT saying that QUT is “a truly wonderful place where women of all backgrounds are encouraged to strive for excellence.”

 

APCRC-Q Researchers shine at TEMTIA 2015

Nataly Stilyanou, and Arutha Kalushinge won awards at The Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition International Association (TEMTIA) VII International EMT Meetingheld in Melbourne in October 2015

Nataly Stylianou won the Best Student and ECR oral presentation at TEMTIA’s (The Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition International Association) VII International EMT Meeting held in Melbourne in October 2015 for her presentation entitled: “'MErT is enriched in lethal metastatic castrate resistant prostate cancer and correlates with an overall poor prognosis across multiple cancers”.

“Nataly did a wonderful job delivering her presentation and also handled questions from the floor expertly. This is a well-deserved award,” said Nataly’s supervisor, Dr Brett Hollier.

The APCRC-Q had a strong presence at the conference where Ms Phoebe Sarkar and Dr Ruth Fuhrman-Luck were also presented with travel awards.

Congratulations also go to Mr Arutha Kalushinge for winning the Best Student and ECR oral presentation at the 2nd Thomas Ashworth Circulating Tumour Cell Symposium held in conjunction with the TEMTIA meeting.

“Well done, Arutha. He did a fantastic job presenting his research,” said Arutha’s supervisor, Dr Chamindie Punyadeera.

APCRC-Q Researchers win a prestigious poster prize at ENDO 2015

Research by our APCRC-Q team, Drs M. Sadowski, A. Rockstroh, C. Soekmadji, S. McPherson, G. Tevz, J. Gunter , V. Jeet, and Prof C. Nelson, and presented by APCRC-Q Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Dr Martin Sadowski, won the Presidential Poster Competition at the Endocrine Society’s 97th Annual Meeting and Expo (affectionately known as ENDO 2015).

“This award represents a very prestigious accolade,” said Endocrine Society President Dr Richard Santen, “since only high-scoring trainee-authored abstracts were selected for participation.”

The poster, presented in a session on Late-breaking Nuclear Receptors and Steroid Hormone Action II, and entitled “Phenotypic and Molecular Analysis of Androgen Receptor Signaling in the DuCaP Prostate Cancer Cell Line,” was selected from a multitude of high-calibre entries and judged by three senior faculty judges to be of exceptional merit.

 “We congratulate Dr Sadowski and co-workers on this team achievement,” said Prof Colleen Nelson, Executive Director of the APCRC-Q. “It is a good reflection on the calibre of our researchers that their work has received recognition at such a large and well-respected conference.”

APCRC - Q Researchers Win ARC Discovery and Linkage Project Grant

APCRC - Q Profs Pamela Russell, Dietmar W. Hutmacher, and Judith Clements have been part of a successful grant bid.
APCRC - Q Researchers Win ARC Discovery and Linkage Project Grant

Professors Hutmacher and Clements, two members of the project

Donald McElwain, Jennifer Flegg, Daniela Loessner, Paul Dalton, and Helen Byrne are the other investigators on the project, entitled “Development and validation of virtual epithelial cancer models using an integrated modelling and experimental three-dimensional approach”. It has been awarded a $500 000 grant over four years from the Australian Research Council.

The project aims to validate multi-scale models to delineate biological and pathological avenues in healthy and disease tissue, and improve prevention and treatment of prostate and ovarian cancer.

APCRC - Q Researchers Win NHMRC Grant Funding

Several APCRC - Q researchers have been successful in the recent National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grant round.
APCRC - Q Researchers Win NHMRC Grant Funding

Professor Judith Clements

The researchers were:

  • Professor Judith Clements and others for 'In-depth association and functional studies assessing the role of novel single nucleotide polymorphisms in PSA and other Kallikrein genes in prostate cancer'

 

Professor Clements (pictured) also received an NHMRC Research Fellowship, to commence in 2011.

APCRC - Q Seminar Series

The Centre's fortnightly Seminar Series encourages clinicians and researchers to share their research in the area of Prostate Cancer.
APCRC - Q Seminar Series

Dr Michael Doran

APCRC—Q’s Seminar Series is in full swing for 2012, enabling health professionals to share their current research within the area of prostate cancer.

In previous years, the series has drawn  attendees from within APCRC—Q, the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI), along with the University of Queensland’s (UQ) various research departments, Mater Medical Research Institute (MMRI) researchers, Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) Health Professionals and prostate    cancer support group members.

The 2012 series commenced with Professor Christian Langton, Assistant Dean (Research) Science and Engineering Faculty, Queensland University of Technology.  Professor Langton was followed up by  Jason Dowling, Research Scientist in Biomedical Imaging at the CSIRO ICT Centre, the Australian e-Health Research Centre; Martin Berry, Associate Member USANZ, Member and Deputy Chairman Urology Oncology Program (NSW), Associate Professor at the University of New South Wales;  Dr Kieran Scott, Senior Research Fellow at St Vincent’s Hospital Clinical School, University of New South Wales; YZ Wang, Senior Scientist at the Vancouver Prostate Centre, British Columbia Cancer Agency and Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia.

Details on upcoming Seminar Series events can be found on our events page.

Russell Strong Auditorium, Princess Alexandra Hospital, 199 Ipswich Road,        Woolloongabba

Contact:  (07) 3176 7957    
E: prostatecentre@qut.edu.au

Information on upcoming seminars can be found on the Events page.

APCRC-Q shines at the 4th Annual TRI Poster Symposium

APCRC-Q achieved outstanding results at the 4th Annual TRI Poster Symposium, winning prizes in every category

The Symposium held on Tuesday 25 October 2016 included a keynote address from Dr Paige Maguire, Deputy Director of e-Grad School Australia. With over 100 guests and 80 posters presented, this year’s Symposium had a strong focus on translational research.

Congratulations to APCRC-Q’s award winners:

  • Oral Presentation ECR Winner: Dr Ruth Fuhrman-Luck
  • Oral Presentation Student Runner-Up: Ms Gabrielle Crisp
  • Science to Science Poster ECR Runner-Up: Dr Thomas Kryza
  • Science to Everyone Poster Student Winner: Ms Sugarniya Subramaniam
  • Science to Everyone Poster Student Runner-Up: Dr Andre Joshi
  • Science to Business Poster Student Runner-Up: Ms Farhana Matin
  • People’s Choice Winner: Ms Srilakshmi Srinivasan

Dr Ian Vela finds Potential New Target for Metastatic Prostate Cancer

Discovery by: Drs Ian Vela, Colleen Nelson and Judith A. Clements (APCRC - Q); Drs Colm Morrissey, Eva Corey and Robert L. Vessella; Dr Edith M. Gardiner

Metastatic prostate cancer is currently considered incurable and there is an urgent need to identify important factors in the spread of localised cancer to distant sites. Our main research focus is cancer-bone interactions, which are thought to be critical for the establishment of PCa bone metastases. In the search for novel molecular promotors of PCa metastasis we detected a developmental gene, PITX2, with limited expression in primary PCa and increased expression in PCa metastases. In addition, we identified a likely role for this gene in PCa progression and metastasis to bone.

Establishment of metastatic deposits in hard tissue involves complex interactions between cancer and bone cells, often exploiting developmental pathways important in normal skeletal formation and function. In particular the canonical Wnt pathway has been implicated in PCa progression and skeletal metastasis through its effects on cellular proliferation and interaction with the bone microenvironment. During our investigation of Wnt involvement in PCa progression and bone metastasis we performed a broad evaluation of Wnt pathway associated gene expression in experimental tumors and in clinical samples.

Initially we used real-time poly-merase chain reaction (PCR) arrays to profile RNA expression of 83 Wnt relevant genes in experimental subcutaneous tumors in mice produced from the human PC-3 and LNCaP PCa cell lines. The PC-3 line produced highly osteolytic characteristics. We then used PCR arrays to profile Wnt genes in clinical samples of normal, primary and metastatic PCa tissue. Based on our analysis of the array results we chose an outstanding candidate gene for further investigation by staining for the candidate protein on clinical tissue microarrays (TMAs) of primary PCa, bone and soft tissue metastases, and by functional analyses of cultured cells.

Although several significant differences between the two types of subcutaneous tumors were detected, we selected PITX for followup analysis because its RNA level in tumors formed by PC-3 cells was more than 40-fold higher than that in LNCaP tumors. Furthermore, in concurrence with the current literature PITX2 RNA levels in the normal prostate and primary PCa were low to absent in the majority of cases. However, in our expanded studies of clinical specimens the PITX2 RNA levels were 13 000-fold higher in bone metastases than in the normal prostate. Consistent with RNA transcript levels, we saw a similar pattern of expression at the protein level in primary and metastatic tumors stained by PITX2 immunohistochemistry.

We tested the role of PITX2 in cellular migration by experimentally varying the level of the gene in the PC-3 cell cultures. Cells with increased PITX2 expression had increased motility in a wound healing scratch assay, whereas decreasing PITX2 in these cells by RNA interfernece had the opposite effect and impaired cell motility in this assay. Knockdown of cellular PITX2 also decreased migration towards culture medium that had previously been conditioned in bone cell cultures, consistent with the possible role of PITX2 in the honing of the PCa cells in the bone microenvironment.

PITX2 is a homeodomain transcription factor involved in left-right determination during development through its interaction with the canonical Wnt pathway. Most functional investigations of PITX2 have focused on its role in eye, heart, gut and tooth development, particularly in the context of abnormalities in these organs in the Axenfeld Rieger syndrome type 1, which is characterised by a loss of function mutation in the PITX2 gene. In those invesitgations several PITX2 target genes important for the development of these organs were identified, including N-cadherin, Nodal, Sonic hedgehog, Lefty, and Wnt 11.

Interestingly hypermethylation of the PITX2 promoter in primary PCa was previously associated with an increased risk of biochemical recurrence, suggesting possible usefulness as a biomarker to stratify prostatectomy cases with regard to this risk.

Methylation of the PITX2 promoter would be expected to decrease PITX2 RNA and protein levels, yet our investigation of metastatic material revealed an increase in PITX2 production with PCa progression. This finding would be consistent with the functional involvement of PITX2 and/or its transcriptional regulators in the development of metastasis. It will be essential to understand what drives this increase in PITX2 expression and the significance of this change during cancer progression.

Our observations that PITX2 expression was increased in metastatic disease, and PCa cell motility and migration toward osteoblsat conditioned medium were proportional to PITX2 expression in cell culture models suggest that PITX2 may promote PCa metastasis by driving the cancer cells toward the bone metastatic niche in the local microenvironment. It will be important to define the mechanistic role of PITX2 in this process and idenitfy the chemoattractant factors in bone to which the PITX2 mechanism responds. Given our current lack of effective therapeutic interventions in metastatic disease, a new target related to PITX2 function might be an attractive option for the prevention and/or treatment of PCa bone metastases.

APCRC-Q supporting Movember

APCRC-Q has been busy during the month of Movember rallying our Mo Bros and Mo Sistas to raise funds to support men's health.

With 26 Mo Bros and Mo Sistas on board, APCRC-Q's Movember Team is committed to  changing the face of men's health.

Our researchers have filmed a video to thank everyone growing a Mo this year:

Cup Cake sale and Mo Check in

Movember Cup Cakes 2013

Mo Bros Check In

Wine Tasting Fundraiser

Movember Wine Tasting Fundraiser 2013

Mo Sistas 2013

Mo Judging

Pathology Mo Sistas 2013

Our friends in Princess Alexandra Hospital's Pathology Department had great fun dressing up as Mo Bros and generously donated their fundraising proceeds to our team.

Mourning the Mo

On Friday 29th Movember we will be holding our last fundraising event to celebrate the month of Movember with a morning tea and judging of APCRC-Q's 2013 Mo King & Mo Raiser. Will these previous winners claim another prize this year?

Mo King 2011 - Stephen McPherson  Dr Stephen McPherson - Mo King 2011

   Dr Varinder Jeet - Mo King 2012

Mo Raiser 2012 - Brett Hollier   Dr Brett Hollier - Mo Raiser 2012

APCRC-Q supports Barcoo Workwear’s new clothing range promoting prostate cancer awareness

The Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre-Queensland (APCRC-Q) recently hosted a photo shoot to assist the Princess Alexandra Research Foundation and high-vis workwear clothing company, Barcoo Workwear, in their efforts to raise awareness of prostate cancer.

APCRC-Q researchers Dr Varinder Jeet, Dr Jennifer Gunter, Dr Steve McPherson, Dr Raj Vasireddy, Ms Nataly Stylianou and Ms Esha Shah assisted with the photo shoot for the new Barcoo Workwear high-visibility clothing range.

Each item in the range is marked with a slogan, such as: "Be a man and get a check up". The messages are printed inside the garments to raise awareness of men’s health issues and to encourage men to proactively manage their health.

For every garment sold, Barcoo Workwear will make a contribution to the PA Research Foundation Men’s Health Initiative to support research into prostate cancer.

The idea to use work clothing to promote awareness of men’s health issues was the brainchild of Mr Lance Jelley, who, prior to his death from prostate cancer, formed a relationship with Barcoo CEO Mike Kaye. Together they chose a number of messages to appear inside the Barcoo Workwear range.

"Lance worked on the messages he liked most before his death and was hopeful this would help with prostate cancer research," Mr Kaye said.

 "We know women are really good at going to the doctor, so we are also going to put the message in our women's range of shirts, so they can also remind the men in their lives," he added.

Professor Colleen Nelson, APCRC-Q’s Executive Director said: “We are pleased to be able to assist Barcoo Workwear in this very worthy and unique initiative, which, we hope, will go a long way to raise awareness of prostate cancer and related issues among Australian men.”

BarcooWorkWear

APCRC-Q Supports PA MANdate Men's Health Initiative

To coincide with International Men’s Health Week (15 – 21 June 2015), APCRC-Q is supporting the PA Research Foundation’s PA MANdate Men’s Health Initiative

The campaign encourages men to make a date with their GP for a General Health Check and to donate to men’s health research at the PA Hospital.

Men's Health Week raises awareness of preventable health issues and encourages early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. It provides a valuable opportunity to discuss key issues in men's health and to raise the profile of men, their health outcomes and health needs.

Professor Colleen Nelson, Executive Director of the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre - Queensland, based at the PA Hospital, explains “gram for gram the prostate is the most disease prone organ in men. After around age 50, it is common for the prostate to enlarge or become inflamed due to non-cancerous reasons, and on top of those problems, the occurrence of prostate cancer starts to markedly increase. In plumbing terms, the urine pipe (more like a hose) runs straight through the centre of the prostate which is a highly confined space. Therefore any prostate problem can disrupt the flow of urine, cause blood in the urine and make men feel urgency to urinate, especially at night. These are tell-tale signs something is awry with the prostate. Men should discuss these issues with their doctor, no matter how private they may think it is.”

“The main way men can improve the length and quality of their lives is to start taking a proactive personal interest in their health in general.

Men need to learn about the warning signs of a variety of health problems so they can be on the lookout for them. It's important to recognise the risk factors and signs of not only prostate problems, but also stress, depression, obesity, type 2 diabetes and joint and back pain. It's important to seek advice and ask questions from your doctor – no question is too trivial.

Improving the state of men’s health is also a community effort. We need to look out for the men in our lives, family and friends, and make sure they are okay. With awareness and encouragement, together we can make a big difference in the health and wellbeing of men.” says Professor Nelson.

APCRC-Q Team win TRI SPORE Grant

Dr Jyotsna Batra (team leader), Prof Pamela Russell, and Dr Ian Vela, a Consultant Urologist at the Princess Alexandra Hospital; with UQ’s Dr Alexandre Cristino, and their potential industry partners were awarded $50,000 towards their research into Prostate Cancer treatments.

Their project entitled: “Novel MicroRNA’s as potential targets for treating prostate cancer” aims to develop a novel therapeutic agent and commercialise a treatment for localised and metastatic prostate cancer.

The Translational Research Institute (TRI) SPORE Grant funding will enable the team to undertake pre-clinical investigations and in vivo validation studies to investigate the role of a novel MicroRNA in prostate cancer, and eventually develop new therapeutic solutions. The data generated through this project will be used to attract additional funding to advance the translation of their work.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in men. Currently, there are limited therapeutic options for advanced and metastatic cancer, particularly for bone lesions which are the primary metastatic sites.  The current treatments are successful for between three and five years, however most men become resistant to these therapies.  Developing a treatment that does not trigger this resistance is a critical area of need in the management of prostate cancer.

The TRI 2016 Spore Grants provide seed funding for translational research. TRI provides $50,000 per grant, with the total amount each project receives dependent on the support the team has managed to garner from academic, clinical, and commercial collaborators worldwide.

APCRC - Q to co-host first CellSearch CTC System in Australasia

A brand new CellSearch circulating tumour cell (CTC) test system has arrived at Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital.
APCRC - Q to co-host first CellSearch CTC System in Australasia

MP Paul Lucas Announcing the CellSearch Purchase

The APCRC - Q will operate the CellSearch facility in conjunction with the Princess Alexandra Hospital, providing further support for the recently launched multidisciplinary team clinic.

The CellSearch facility is a major coup for prostate cancer treatment and research in Australia, and will be a national resource for monitoring treatment response and predicting survival rates.

“The CellSearch facility will enable us to capture prostate cancer cells and investigate them at a molecular level,” said Professor Colleen Nelson, the Executive Director of the APCRC - Q.

“It will be used in clinical trials of prostate cancer treatments and to monitor the treatment of cancer in individual patients from around Australia.”

The new technology will be particularly relevant for men receiving treatment through the multidisciplinary clinic for advanced prostate cancer and clinical trials unit, which is also a collaboration between the APCRC - Q and the Princess Alexandra Hospital.

The multidisciplinary team is a first for Australia, bringing together a diverse array of specialists who will work in a collaborative environment at the Hospital.

Queensland Minister for Health and Deputy Premier Paul Lucas announced the CellSearch facility news this morning at the 2010 Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia’s National Conference, which is held in conjunction with the 2010 Australian-Canadian Prostate Cancer Research Alliance Symposium.

APCRC - Q Welcomes ....

Laboratory Coordinator, Dr Jodie Robinson

The Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre - Queensland is pleased to welcome their newest addition to the Centre staff, Dr Jodie Robinson, Laboratory Coordinator.

Jodie is based with the researchers on the Princess Alexandra Hospital Campus and comes to us from the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland.

Beginning her research career in 1995, Jodie has worked in Molecular Cell Biology for 17 years.

Jodie’s biggest job in 2012 is to coordinate the move into the new Translational Research Institute (TRI) late 2012.

We welcome Jodie to the APCRC - Q and look forward to the move into TRI.

Read more about TRI. on their website.

APCRC - Q Welcomes Co-Op Students

Recently, the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre – Queensland (APCRC – Q) welcomed four new students from Canada to undertake a work placement for eight months.

Recently, the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre – Queensland (APCRC – Q) welcomed four new students from Canada to undertake a work placement for eight months.

These students were selected through the Co-operative Programs at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and Simon Fraser University (SFU).  Tiffany Tang (UBC), Kayla McGowan and Phoebe Sakar (SFU) arrived in Brisbane early May and Mannan Nouri will join the students a few weeks later.

The APCRC – Q is the Australian hub for the Australian-Canadian Prostate Cancer Research Alliance (Aus-CanPCRA) and has a strong focus on international collaborative opportunities.  The aim of the Aus-CanPCRA’s participation in such exchanges, is to provide an opportunity for researchers to participate in short-term traineeships with their collaborators.  These work placements enable the students to acquire new knowledge and skills and build productive, long-term collaborative relationships with Australian researchers.

The University of British Columbia’s Science Co-Op Program provides undergraduate students in the Faculty of Science with an opportunity to integrate their academic education with experiential learning through relevant, monitored and paid year-round work placements of various time periods across the globe.

Ms Tiffany Tang of UBC is a Microbiology and Immunology Major in her 4th year of tertiary study.  She has previously worked in a cancer laboratory where she honed particular techniques including cell culturing and Western blotting.

Tiffany is interested in continuing her work in cancer research with the APCRC – Q.

“I am interested in working on and being a part of the EMT project, which APCRC – Q is involved in,” she said.

“Furthermore, as a continuation of my work in cancer research in Canada, I am excited to expand my practical skill set in the lab and am so happy about the opportunity to work abroad in Australia!"

Simon Fraser University is home to one of the largest and most well-respected Co-operative Education programs in North America, established in 1975.  This program provides a transformation in confidence and professionalism in students whom are able to test and drive their career options within a highly supportive environment, gaining practical skills and developing strengths.

Ms Kayla McGowan is a Biomedical Physiology Major at SFU, in her 4th year of study.  Kayla’s passion for cancer research stems from personal experience and she has learnt the mechanisms of cancer, the work being done in mapping the pathways of mutations and the tests performed to mark and differentiate primary and secondary tumours in her studies thus far.

Kayla is planning her next project and is eager to begin her co-op work in Australia.

"I wanted to work with the APCRC-Q because of the relevance of the work to my everyday life. With having witnessed the devastating effects of cancer in both my close family and friends, being able to apply my working knowledge to a subject so relevant is an exciting and incredible opportunity,” she said.

Ms Phoebe Sarkar is in her 5th year of a Health Sciences Degree at SFU and was the recipient of the Shrum Science Entrance Scholarship as well as the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Undergraduate Research Award, University of Women’s Club Women in Science Scholarship and Laurine Harrison Award.

Phoebe has previously worked as a Research Assistant in Vancouver, gaining experience in human and mouse cell work.

"I was motivated to work at the APCRC-Q because it presented an opportunity to use my skills and knowledge towards finding the cure for an advanced level of prostate cancer that could potentially relieve the suffering of many men. Additionally, I have a deep love for molecular biology and the research project at the APCRC-Q would allow me opportunities to gain more knowledge and specialization," she said.

Mr Mannan Nouri is studying his 4th year of a Science Degree, with a previous Associate Degree in Science.  He has experience in microbiology, chemistry and biology as well as techniques including cell culture, microscopy, Gel filtration and Ion exchange.

Mannan looks forward to expanding his skills with the APCRC – Q in Brisbane.

“Besides the opportunity to live and work in a gorgeous part of the world, I wanted to work with APCRC – Q because the public molecular biology based research environment would contrast sharply with the for-profit biology based research environment I currently work in,” he said.

Researchers at the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre – Queensland are looking forward to working with these four Canadian students over the next eight months.

APCRC–Q’s Dr Patrick Ling awarded TWO highly-competitive NHMRC project Grants

Dr Patrick Ling, Vice Chancellor Fellow at the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre (APCRC-Q), was delighted to hear that he has been awarded two National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) project grants.

NHMRC grants are highly competitive and this is an outstanding achievement that speaks to the promise of this talented young investigator.

Grant money makes crucial cancer research possible

The announcement, made on Monday 17th October, 2011, specified that the NHMRC would make a total of $1.1million in funds available to Dr Ling for use in two critical research areas in the treatment of prostate cancer – namely:

  1. The identification of a new therapeutic target for the treatment of prostate cancer, and
  2. The study of how prostate tumour metastasizes to bone.

“Research funded by these grants will allow us to understand why prostate cancer preferentially metastasizes to the bone,” explains Dr Ling, “and will help us to develop novel treatments to be used against the metastatic disease.”

“In addition, the grants will provide us with the financial support we need to test a new anti-cancer therapeutic target in the treatment of castration resistant prostate cancer,” he adds.

Important implications for the APCRC-Q — and for prostate cancer patients!

Both projects are central to the aims of the APCRC-Q and the Centre’s Executive Director, Professor Colleen Nelson, is delighted with Dr Ling’s success.

“We are all very pleased and proud of Patrick who deserves our congratulations for his hard work and determination,” says Professor Nelson. “These grants will help our centre move closer to our goals of finding therapeutic targets in the treatment of advanced prostate cancer and understanding the metastasis of the disease.”

Dr Ling agrees: “We expect that the completion of both these studies will lead to the development of effective therapies in the treatment of advanced stage prostate cancer patients.”

Involvement in an active centre with strong expertise makes the difference

Dr Ling has the following advice for aspiring NHMRC grant applicants: “Apart from solid preliminary data — working in a reputable research centre, with a strong focus on your area of interest, is of great advantage.”

“In my case, working in the APCRC-Q, where the focus is solely on prostate cancer, gave me a distinct advantage — especially as we have a strong team and all the expertise required to achieve the goals we outlined in our proposals for the projects.”

The next step...

“My immediate plans, now that I have the grants, are to find and recruit researchers to work on these studies within the APCRC-Q,” says Dr Ling.

Media release

Media Release Contact:

Melissa Raassina
Communications Coordinator
Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre – Queensland
Level 1, Building 1, Princess Alexandra Hospital
199 Ipswich Rd, Brisbane QLD 4102
t:
07 3176 1894
f: 07 3176 7440
e: melissa.raassina@qut.edu.au

APCRC-Q’s Prof Pamela Russell wins 2015 Women in Technology Life Sciences Award

APCRC-Q Head of Imaging and Tumour Models, Professor Pam Russell, was awarded the Women in Technology (WiT) Life Sciences Outstanding Achievement Award at a gala event at the Royal International Convention Centre in Brisbane on Friday evening, 28 August 2015.

Prof Russell was recognised for her contribution to treating autoimmune diseases and generating bladder and prostate cancer models for study.

 “On behalf of the APCRC-Q I would like to congratulate Pam,” said Prof Colleen Nelson, Executive Director of the APCRC-Q. “This is a great achievement and very well-deserved.”

WiT president Fiona Hayes said the awards, now in their 18th year, continue to grow as nominations for this year were up by 50% across nine award categories. “The WiT awards celebrate women who are experts in their fields and succeeding in male dominated technology and life science positions. These women are exceptional role models for young women considering a career in technology or life sciences”, said Ms Hayes.

APCRC-Q's NHMRC Project Grant Success

APCRC-Q researchers received more than $1.1 million in funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Project Grant Scheme announced on Friday 19 October 2012.

APCRC-Q researchers received more than $1.1 million in funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) project grants announced on Friday 19 October 2012.

Of the 4,743 applications received in this extremely competitive grant round, a grand total 1,141 received grants, bringing the overall success rate to 22.1%.

Among the APCRC-Q’s two successful applications was Professor Pamela Russell’s project, entitled: “Simultaneous Imaging and Drug Delivery for Prostate Cancer Theranostics”.  Professor Russell will be collaborating closely with Professor Andrew Whittaker and Dr Kristofer Thurecht from the University of Queensland’s Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN).  Professor Russell’s project focuses on the use of a highly-sensitive 19F-molecular imaging agent, developed by the project team, which has the potential to both diagnose and treat advanced prostate cancer. This agent will be further modified to create a targeted therapy for advanced prostate cancer, diminishing the side effects to other organs of today’s therapies and allowing the results of treatment to be imaged. It may also prove useful for improved clinical staging for locoregional disease.

 “This project has far reaching implications for both clinicians and patients in the diagnosis and treatment of advanced prostate cancer,” said Professor Russell, “and I am very pleased to be the recipient of this grant, which will make this ground-breaking study possible.”

APCRC-Q’s Dr Jyotsna Batra and Professor Judith Clements, and their colleague Dr Amanda Spurdle from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research also received funding for their project titled “Identification and characterisation of a novel genetic signature at the 5p15 region associated with risk of prostate cancer”.  Following on from their recent success in replicating the genetic association of a region (5p15) with the risk of prostate cancer in Australian men; in this project, the researchers seek to identify the precise genetic variant behind this association, and the functional role of these novel gene/s and variants in disease pathology. Their results will provide a foundation for the development of sensitive and readily applicable lab-based screening tools to be used clinically.

“We are very happy with the success of our application,” said Dr Batra. “The results of this project will provide impetus for drug-targeted research by furthering our understanding on this multi-factorial disease.”

Both projects are central to APCRC-Q’s ongoing research activities.   The Centre’s Executive Director, Professor Colleen Nelson welcomed the NHMRC funding success: “We are all very pleased and proud of Professor Russell, Professor Clements and Dr Batra.  These grants will assist us in furthering the APCRC-Q’s aims to develop new predictive biomarkers, and diagnostic and therapeutic tools with which to detect and treat prostate cancer.”

APCRC - Q's Visit from Dresden, Germany

Drs Froehner and Fuessel spoke at the APCRC - Q’s regular Seminar Series event on the 17th April to an audience of Researchers, Clinicians and general public about their current research in the area of prostate cancer. Dr Froehner shared his research on “Competing Mortality after Radical Prostatectomy”.

Recently, the APCRC - Q was fortunate to receive a visit from Dr Michael Froehner, Specialist in Urology and Senior Physician and Dr Susanne Fuessel, Manager of the Urological Laboratory, both from the Department of Urology at the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus in Dresden Germany.

The duo are part of a team that flew in from  the Technical University of Dresden to meet with members of Queensland University of Technology’s Institute for Health and Biomedical Innovation, as well as medical professionals throughout Brisbane.

The Department of Urology in Dresden provides expertise and advanced treatment methods in all areas of Urology. Experienced staff and well-equipped departments ensure a modern and comprehensive treatment both in general urology and urologic in all specialties. Each year the hospital treats about 4,500 inpatient and 6,600 outpatients. The clinic is one of the largest academic urology centers in Germany and there are medical students, interns and visiting international doctors and scientists in basic and advanced training.

The focus of clinical and basic research, funded by national and international, peer-reviewed research grants are available, particularly in the area of prostate cancer, bladder cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia. Drs Froehner and Fuessel spoke at the APCRC - Q’s regular Seminar Series event on the 17th April to an audience of Researchers, Clinicians and general public about their current research in the area of prostate cancer. Dr Froehner shared his research on “Competing Mortality after Radical Prostatectomy”.

Dr Fuessel shared the structure within the laboratory at Dresden, in which there is a combined routine and research lab embedded within the Department of Urology, basic and translational research on uro-oncological topics, biobank for cryopreserved tumor tissues, centre for clinical trials and much more.

The visitors met with APCRC—Q researcher the following day to discuss research objectives and opportunities.

More information is available on the Dresden Urology Clinic website.

 

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Current Research Interests

Clinical interests: Diagnostics, surgery and systemic treatment of urological neoplasms; Imaging and differential diagnosis.

Scientific interests: Comorbidity as predictor of survival after radical prostatectomy; Life expectancy and natural history of prostate cancer.

 

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Current Research Interests

  • Prostate cancer (PCa)
  • Bladder cancer (BCa)
  • Renal cell carcinoma (RCC)
  • Multi-functional carbon nanoparticles for biomedical applications

 

 

APCRC-Q Joins the Fight

APCRC-Q once again took part in Movember with an online team, morning tea and miscellaneous donations.
APCRC-Q Joins the Fight

APCRC-Q raising funds for Movember

During November each year, men throughout Australia and the world grow moustaches to raise funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer, and depression in men.

The funds raised are intended for programs run directly by Movember and their men’s health partners, the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and beyondblue: the national depression initiative.

APCRC-Q raised over $2,000 for Movember in total.

Applications Now Open: 2012 Merck Translational Research Excellence Award

Merck Australia and Life Sciences Queensland Limited (LSQ) have launched the 2012 Translational Research Excellence Award in order to support the state's burgeoning biotechnology industry and to gain increased health and economic benefits for Members.

This award aims to expand global connections for Queensland science and facilitate more global collaborations for local biotechnology companies.

The award will help to open new doors for Queensland-based life scientists to help lift the state’s success in the global market place.

The 2012 Translational Research Excellence Award will celebrate a project in human health or animal health (therapeutic, diagnostic or device) in Queensland and will raise the profile of the Queensland life science industry and research sector to the media, domestic and international business people, investors and the community.

 

The aim of the award is to provide financial and other assistance to help the winner succeed with their international business development plans. As part of the process, the winner will need to demonstrate how the award will assist towards their opportunity for overseas success.

 

Award

The winner will receive a prize of AU$2,000 reimbursement towards travel and associated costs to join the LSQ delegation to BIO2013 - to be held in Chicago, USA 22-25 April 2013.

 

Application form available.

Around the Globe

APCRC - Q's directors and staff represent the Centre internationally.

Representing APCRC - Q’s research, Professor Colleen Nelson and others have been busy this year thus far, travelling the globe to network and attend conferences.

Professors Colleen Nelson, Judith Clements and Pamela Russell attended the American Association for Cancer  Research’s Advances in Prostate Cancer Research Conference in Orlando, Florida in early February.  Professor Russell presented a poster titled “Use of targeted magnetic nanoparticles for imaging in prostate cancer”.

Professor Judith Clements was an invited speaker at the Gordon Research Conference Plasimogen Activation & Extracellular Proteolysis Conference in Ventura, California in mid February, whilst Professor Nelson attended the Cambridge Healthtech Institute 2nd Annual Circulating Tumour Cell Conference in San Francisco.

Professor Nelson and Dr Morgan Pokorny attended the 27th Annual European Association of Urology Congress in Paris in late February, and Professor Clements attended the 29th Winter School on Proteinases and their Inhibitors in Munich during this time.

Professor Nelson also attended the Irish Association for Cancer Research’s Annual Meeting held in Belfast, early March as an invited speaker.

A very busy start to the year, ensuring that APCRC - Q is promoted internationally and that collaborations and  current research activities around the globe are brought back to the APCRC - Q.

ASMR Recognition for APCRC-Q Researchers

Three APCRC-Q researchers recently received recognition for their research endeavours from the Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR). Dr Jyotsna Batra and Ms Nathalie Bock were selected as finalists in the ASMR Queensland Awards, and Ms Phoebe Sarkar’s research was featured in the ASMR newsletter media release.

At the ASMR Queensland judging session, Ms Nathalie Bock presented her project entitled: “Growth-factor loaded electrosprayed microparticles for targeted bone tissue regeneration” in the Postgraduate Student Awards Category.

In her presentation, Nathalie explained how bone loss is currently treated clinically by growth factor (GF) therapies and how these treatments use high doses of GFs to stimulate bone regeneration, which may lead to adverse side effects for other surrounding tissues.

Her project describes a novel technique, electrospraying, capable of encapsulating bone-relevant GFs within biodegradable carriers, which simultaneously protects GFs from the environment and delivers lower doses, as the carriers degrade. This new system is gentle to the GFs, which remain active longer for more efficacious bone regeneration providing a safer and cheaper alternative for bone loss treatment.

In the Postdoctoral Researcher Award Category, Dr Jyotsna Batra delivered a presentation on her project: “Genome-wide association studies of miRSNPs identify novel prostate cancer risk loci” which examines miRNA - small non-coding RNA regulating gene expression by binding mostly to the ends of their target genes.

Dr Batra is a member of the PRACTICAL consortium international research team. She explained how genetic variation can affect the binding between miRNAs and mRNAs and described how this team undertook large comprehensive genetic association studies of such genetic variations with prostate cancer risk and identified 7 novel risk regions and successfully validated the functional role of two of the variations in the KLK3 and MDM4 genes. This approach has thus opened new avenues for future studies to explore these regions as potential targeted therapeutics and/or disease biomarkers for prostate cancer.

Ms Phoebe Sarkar’s research into the effects of diabetes drugs on prostate cancer featured in the ASMR Medical Research Week media release. There was particular interest in the findings that high insulin levels increase the migration and invasion of prostate tumours, and that these changes can be prevented using insulin inhibitors. Stating that the “results make a strong case for repositioning insulin-lowering diabetes drugs, such as metformin, for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer”.

“The ASMR is the foremost professional society representing Australian health and medical research. The Society has a long established role in public, political and scientific advocacy, and as such, we greatly value ASMR’s acknowledgement of our researchers’ contributions to the field of prostate cancer research,” said Prof Colleen Nelson, Executive Director of the APCRC-Q.

 

Aus-CanPCRA Symposium Success

Wrapping up the 2012 Australian-Canadian Prostate Cancer Research Alliance Symposium with presenters, feedback and collaborations. APCRC - Q is the Australian Hub of the Alliance.

 

Delegates pronounce Aus-CanPCRA Symposium 2012 a resounding success!

The 2012 Australian-Canadian Prostate Cancer Research Alliance Symposium was held on Daydream Island from 13 to 16 April.

With 13 informative presentation and discussion sessions over three days, as well as a poster exhibit and networking opportunities, the Symposium attracted 87 participants, including 21 Canadian attendees.

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A friendly, interactive atmosphere prevailed and all delegates agreed that the Symposium was a resounding success in terms of information sharing, discussion, and collaboration.

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Top prostate cancer researchers present their latest findings

In attendance were some of the most influential scientists in prostate cancer research from around the world, many of whom shared their current research through informative presentations and interesting poster sessions. Topics discussed included:

  • Androgen Targeting
  • Androgen Function
  • Bioinformatics
  • Imaging
  • Circulating Biomarkers
  • Stress/DNA repair and new targets
  • Molecular Pathology resources, markers and drug discovery
  • Metabolism and Growth factors
  • Tumour Models
  • Preclinical and new therapeutics and screening
  • Patterns of Practice and health economics

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Positive feedback from delegates

Feedback received from delegates both during and after the conference confirmed that much was learned, many valuable discussions took place, and significant plans were laid for prospective collaborations among both first time attendees and seasoned Alliance members.

The following are just a few of the many positive comments from delegates:

“This was my first time attending the Australian-Canadian Prostate Cancer Research Alliance Meeting. I enjoyed meeting other conference attendees – both from Australia and Canada, and various scientific discussions that occurred throughout the meeting period – both inside and outside the conference venue. These scientific discussions led to a few potential collaborations.” Prof Bharati Bapat (University of Toronto)

“I consider this Aus-CanPCRA Symposium to be an unequivocal success for me, and am very happy to have been a part of it!” Dr Paul Boutros (University of Toronto)

“I thoroughly enjoyed the Aus-CanPCRA Symposium and very much appreciated the opportunity to share my work with an international community. My talk: “Insulin, IGFII and ADT induced Metabolic Syndrome: Pathways to Prostate Cancer Progression,” gave rise to many interesting conversation and new research questions for myself and for other researchers in overlapping fields. During the conference, I had many opportunities to foster collaborations with other research centers.” Dr Amy Lubik (Vancouver Prostate Centre)

“I feel that once again the annual Australian-Canadian Prostate Cancer Research Alliance meeting was a resounding success in providing a somewhat unique venue for sharing progress in prostate cancer research as well as for building collaborative ventures.” Prof Paul Rennie (University of British Columbia)

“Thank you for organizing the 2012 Aus-Can Prostate Cancer Research Alliance Symposium.  The meeting was outstanding and the location was superb.  It was a pleasure to meet with some new prospective collaborators as well as strengthening existing collaborative relationships.” Dr Christopher Ong (Vancouver Prostate Centre, University of British Columbia)

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Collaborations celebrated and created

At the heart of the conference, and a theme throughout all the discussions and presentations was the value of collaboration opportunities offered to researchers from across the globe by the Alliance.

Existing collaborations which were celebrated included:

1. Prof Jeff Holst (Centenary Institute), Prof Colleen Nelson (APCRC-Q), Dr Melanie Lehman (Vancouver Prostate Centre/APCRC-Q), Dr Grant Buchanan (University of Adelaide), Dr Ladan Fazli (Vancouver Prostate Centre) and Prof Ron Quinn (Griffith University)

Through his collaboration with Prof Colleen Nelson, Dr Melanie Lehman, Dr Grant Buchanan, Dr Ladan Fazli, and Prof Ron Quinn (all of whom are Alliance members), Dr Holst’s research demonstrated that by inhibiting the L-type amino acid transporters, tumour cell growth can effectively be diminished. At the 2012 Aus-CanPCRA Symposium, Dr Holst expanded on his findings that prostate cancer cells coordinate the expression of amino acid transporters, which led to a successful publication in the prestigious Cancer Research Journal.  Read more ...

2. Dr  Ladan Fazli (Vancouver Prostate Centre) and Ms Parisa Hesami (APCRC-Q)

Dr Fazli met Ms Hesami at the 2010 Aus-CanPCRA Symposium held at the Gold Coast, Queensland. During a discussion over lunch, the two researchers discovered just how much they had in common and began a fruitful collaboration.  Read more ...

1. Prof Paul Rennie (Vancouver Prostate Centre) and Prof Ron Quinn (Griffith University)

Prof Rennie and Prof Quinn met two years ago at the 2010 Aus-CanPCRA Symposium at the Gold Coast, Queensland and began a successful collaboration, which involved the search for small molecule natural products that bind to the C-terminal region of the androgen receptor.  Read more ...

 

Some examples of prospective collaborations from the 2012 Aus-CanPCRA Symposium include:

 

1. Dr Lidija Jovanovic (APCRC-Q) and Ms Jenny Bazov (Vancouver Prostate Centre)

As a result of their discussions at the 2012 Symposium, Ms Bazov and Dr Lidija Jovanovic are working to set up a collaborative effort to develop, validate, and verify methodology and protocols used in both the Queensland and our Vancouver labs. Read more ...

2. A/Prof Chris Hovens (APCRC-Epworth) and Dr Paul C. Boutros (University of Toronto)

Dr Boutros had extensive discussions with Dr. Chris Hovens, the Scientific Director of the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre - Epworth, Victoria. Dr Hovens is sequencing several primary tumours with multiple metastases. They plan to compare the genomic aberrations identified in metastases in Dr. Hovens’ lab with those discovered in CPC-GENE. Read more ...

3. Prof Paul Rennie (Vancouver Prostate Centre) and Dr Karen Chambers (APCRC-Q)

Prof Rennie of the Vancouver Prostate Centre once again found the Aus-CanPCRA Symposium very helpful in terms of establishing meaningful collaborations with other researchers. He has plans for a prospective collaboration with Dr Karen Chambers. Read more ...

4. Dr Kieran Scott (University of New South Wales), Prof Pamela Russell (APCRC-Q), Prof Colleen Nelson (APCRC-Q), and Dr Lidija Jovanovic (APCRC-Q)

This collaboration will combine the considerable expertise established in the Nelson laboratory in tumour models and transcript expression analysis with the experience and knowledge of phospholipase A2 inhibitors and lipid metabolism of Dr Scott’s lab to discover how these inhibitors modify tumour transcription patterns. Read more ...

Please visit our Collaboration Page to read more interesting collaboration stories

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Posters showcase research findings and encourage discussion

Daily poster sessions allowed researchers from both countries to present their work visually and to answer questions and engage in discussions about their individual research projects.  The posters were also featured in the symposium abstract booklet provided to all delegates at the conference for easy reference and further information on the various areas of research.

Acknowledgements

Aus-CanPCRA sincerely thanks all symposium delegates, who represented a wide variety of world-class Research Institutes and Organisations, including:

  • Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre – Epworth
  • Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre – Queensland
  • Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre – Epworth
  • Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre – Queensland
  • Bond University’s Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine
  • Centenary Institute’s Origins Cancer Group
  • Griffith University’s Eskitis Institute for Cell and Molecular Therapies
  • Jewish General Hospital’s Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research
  • McGill University’s Department of Surgery; Division of Urology
  • Monash University’s Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology; Institute of Medical Research
  • Movember
  • Mt Sinai Hospital
  • Prince of Wales Hospital’s Department of Medical Oncology
  • Princess Alexandra Hospital’s Department of Urology and Transplant
  • Prostate Cancer Canada
  • Queensland University of Technology’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
  • Royal Melbourne Hospital’s, Department of Urology
  • Toronto Western Research Institute’s University Health Network
  • University of Adelaide’s Basil Hetzel Institute for Translational Research
  • University of Adelaide’s Dame Roma Mitchell Cancer Research Laboratories
  • University of British Columbia’s Department of Urologic Sciences
  • Vancouver Prostate Centre
  • University of Calgary’s Department of Oncology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • University of Melbourne’s Department of Surgery
  • University of New South Wales’ St George Hospital Clinical School
  • University of Queensland’s Diamantina Institute for Cancer Immunology and Metabolic Medicine; Cancer Genomics and Trascriptomics Group
  • University of Toronto’s Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology; Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • University of Toronto’s Department of Medical Biophysics
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For further information about future Aus-CanPCRA events and how to join the Alliance...

Please visit the Australian-Canadian Prostate Cancer Research Alliance website for more information on how to join the Alliance as well as updates on future events and research opportunities.

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Online photo gallery live now!

Australian Prostate Cancer Bio Resource (APCB) receives funding from “It’s A Bloke Thing” Foundation and Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia

The Australian Prostate Cancer Bio-Resource (APCB), led by APCRC-Q’s Scientific Director, Distinguished Professor Judith Clements, recently received a $200,000 contribution from the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) and the It's A Bloke Thing Foundation (IABTF).

The Australian Prostate Cancer Bio-Resource (APCB), led by APCRC-Q’s Scientific Director, Distinguished Professor Judith Clements, recently received a $200,000 contribution from the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) and the It's A Bloke Thing Foundation (IABTF).

These funds will assist the APCB as it underpins clinical trials and ongoing research nationally, and is involved in international consortia, such as the PRACTICAL prostate cancer genetic association study.

The biobank, which has four state nodes and is led from Queensland, has collected tissue samples from more than 5,500 men for the past 10 years and has 140,000 samples nationally and 40,000 in Queensland.

“It will be 10 years in October since we started collections and this is an extremely critical phase as we now need to gain more information on these men as to whether their disease has progressed or not. We are extremely grateful for the philanthropic support that comes to us through the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, who has generously supported us for the past five years,” said Professor Clements, who has been working in prostate cancer research for the past 20 years.

"This funding will assist us in getting the critical information required for an integral part of the overall research into prostate cancer," she added.

PCFA national chairman, Mr Jim Hughes AM, said community support was vital for ongoing prostate cancer research.

"We have some wonderful community-based initiatives that help, like the Toowoomba-based It's A Bloke Thing (IABT) Foundation, which is responsible for half of this $200,000 donation," said Mr Hughes.

Started four years ago by a group a friends, including businessmen John Wagner, Gary Gardner, Mark Crampton and this year's chairman, John Fitzgibbons, the IABT lunch is Australia's most successful daytime fundraising event.

"We are extremely pleased that our event will help beneficiaries like the Australian Prostate Cancer Bio-Resource to continue their research programs," said Mr Fitzgibbons.

"Prostate cancer accounts for 30% of all cancers diagnosed in Australian men every year, and it is the second most common cause of cancer-related death, after lung cancer.”

"It's also not “just an old man's disease” so we need to reach men, particularly at a grassroots level and in rural communities."

 

BBQ for Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

APCRC-Q are hosting 2 barbecues at the PA Hospital in September to raise funds for Prostate Cancer Awareness month.

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and APCRC-Q is gearing up to raise much needed funds for research.

This month we will be holding Barbecues at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, Thursday 15th September and Thursday 22nd September from 12:30-1:30pm, in order to aid this important cause.

The Barbecues will be held outside the main entrance of the PA Hospital, in front of the Transit Lounge and near the Ambulance Bays.

QUT Gardens Point will once again turn the cube on top of Z Block blue for most of September.

All funds raised throughout the events will help the Prostate Cancer Foundation Australia (PCFA) to continue their vital research into the cause, treatment and prevention of prostate cancer.

BBQ Success

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness month and what better way to celebrate than to hold a “Great Aussie Barbie” for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia?

Recently, the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre – Queensland (APCRC – Q), held a lunchtime barbecue at the Princess Alexandra to raise funds for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia’s September campaign.

Staff, patients and visitors attended the feast and helped to raise over $500 for prostate cancer research and awareness.

APCRC – Q will run another barbecue on Friday 21st September in the Garden Atrium in the Main Building of the PA Hospital from 11:30am – 2pm.

There will also be a barbecue at the Queensland University of Technology’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation on Friday 14th September 11:30am – 2pm, Corner Blamey Road and Musk Avenue.

Thank-you to all who attended and helped set up, clean up, serve, cook and spruik.

More information can be found at the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia’s website.

Breakthrough DNA research reveals genetic risks for prostate, breast and ovarian cancers

APCRC-Q researchers Prof Judith Clements, Dr Jyotsna Batra and PhD student Srilakshmi Srinivasan recently contributed to a genetic variation study that was published in Nature Genetics. The publication identified more than 80 genetic variations that can increase a person's risk of prostate, breast, and ovarian cancers.

APCRC-Q researchers Prof Judith Clements, Dr Jyotsna Batra and PhD student Srilakshmi Srinivasan recently contributed to a genetic variation study that was published in Nature Genetics.  The publication identified more than 80 genetic variations that can increase a person's risk of prostate, breast, and ovarian cancers.

The study results, released on Thursday 28 March 2013, explain how each genetic variation increased the risk of developing cancer by a small amount, and demonstrated how the cancer risk multiplied significantly with the number of variations within a person's DNA.

Largest and first genetic study of its type

This study was one of the largest-ever of its type and marked the first attempt to identify genetic variations associated with the risk of these cancers in a very large number of people. The international research team studied the DNA of 200,000 people to identify genetic variations, called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), which are associated with the risk of developing prostate, breast, and ovarian cancer.

78 Genetic Variations Linked to Prostate Cancer Identified

Dr Batra, Prof Clements and Srilakshmi Srinivasan worked closely with fellow scientist from  the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, to help design the SNP chip that analysed the DNA for prostate cancer-released genetic variations. The new SNP research means scientists now know of 78 genetic variations linked to prostate cancer.

"We can now explain 35 per cent of the hereditary risk of prostate cancer by combining the effects of these 78 variations - but that means we still have 65 per cent to go," said Dr Batra.

The analysis compared the DNA of Queensland prostate cancer patients to that of healthy individuals.

For prostate cancer patients, Dr Batra said, "We found 23 additional genetic variations linked to prostate cancer and 16 of those relate to life-threatening forms of the disease."

According to Dr Batra, this means that: "If you're unlucky enough to be in the one per cent of people with lots of these prostate-cancer related variations in your DNA, your risk of developing this disease could rise by nearly 50 per cent compared to the population average."

The QUT scientists are currently designing a second chip to isolate the remaining variations.

Better-informed treatment choices for prostate cancer patients

The SNP research would be used to design genetic tests for prostate cancer, which would complement existing screening technologies.

"These genetic variations are inherited and don't change with age," Professor Clements said. "That means it's possible to test for the cancer risks well before they actually develop in a person.”

"About one in nine men will develop prostate cancer by 80 years of age, but not all prostate cancer is life threatening.”

"So knowing the genetic composition of a man's DNA becomes an important step in dealing with his disease.”

"Doctors would likely opt for regular screening and early surgical removal for patients likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer, but opt for watchful waiting in patients with variations linked to non-aggressive forms."

The genetic variation study was led by the UK's University of Cambridge and The Institute of Cancer Research.

Cancer Council Queensland Award Trifecta

Professor Colleen Nelson, Executive Director of APCRC-Q, was awarded a Cancer Council Queensland Research Project Grant for her project entitled: Development of YB-1 as a therapeutic target in advanced prostate cancer.

“I am very pleased with this outcome,” said Prof Nelson.YB-1 is a major driver of prostate cancer progression and mediates castrate- and chemo-resistance, and, as such, is a promising therapeutic target in advanced prostate cancer. This project will determine the molecular mechanisms by which YB-1 regulates androgen responsive genes, and study the biological processes that are co-regulated by YB-1 and androgens.

“Further investigation will be undertaken to determine how YB-1 contributes to the activation of castrate resistant tumour growth by affecting key players of proliferation and cell cycle control.

“We believe our findings will open new avenues for combinatorial therapy of androgen targeted or chemotherapeutic agents with development of an innovative YB-1 targeted therapy for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer.”

Distinguished Professor Judith Clements and Dr Jyotsna Batra also received a Cancer Council Queensland Research Project Award for their project entitled: PSA Coding variants: Functional analysis, multiethnic association and risk models for prostate cancer.

“This is a great outcome,” said DProf Judith Clements, Scientific Director of APCRC-Q, “This study will critically evaluate two promising genetic biomarkers, with a view to improving the existing PSA test and providing risk models for prostate cancer in multiethnic populations.

The information we gain from this study may also help us to selectively identify and distinguish prostate cancers that are more aggressive and should be treated from those that grow slowly and would not surface or cause significant symptoms during the lifetime of the patient.  We would also explore how these genetic variants contribute to initiation and development of prostate cancer  

Professor Ken O’Byrne and Associate Professor Derek Richard’s project entitled: MyRIP and exosomes function to control genetic stability, also secured a Cancer Council Queensland Research Project Award.

“We are pleased to have received this award,” said Prof O’Byrne, “This project has far reaching implications for the development of effective therapies in the fight against cancer.”

APCRC-Q supports the PA Research Foundation's Duck Race

APCRC-Q's Executive Director, Professor Colleen Nelson featured in the Channel Ten TV news coverage to promote the PA Research Foundation's Duck Race

The PA Research Foundation's annual Duck Race, held on Sunday 20 October, was a great success with more than $63,000 raised to support cancer research at the Princess Alexandra Hospital.  As one of the beneficiaries of the event, APCRC-Q was pleased to be involved in promoting the race.  Channel 10 TV News reporter Tegan George visited APCRC-Q two weeks before the event.

Congratulations to the lucky duck winner - Annabelle from Cleveland!!

The Duck Race is still open for donations.

 

Co-Op Students Scholarship Success

APCRC - Q's Canadian Co-Op students receive Scholarships.
Co-Op Students Scholarship Success

Co-Op Students: Kayla McGowan and Phoebe Sarkar

Two of the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre – Queensland’s (APCRC – Q) newest additions, Canadian Co-Operative Program students, have been successful in receiving Canadian Scholarships.

Kayla McGowan and Phoebe Sarkar are two of four Canadian students spending eight months in the APCRC – Q labs on work placement.

Ms McGowan is among 22 British Columbian students to win a 2012 Premier’s Scholarship of $10,000 for study abroad.

This scholarship will aid her during her time in Brisbane with the APCRC – Q, working on a project that seeks to explain why Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT), used to treat primary prostate cancer tumor cells, can have varying results.

The student is a Biomedical Physiology Major at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in British Columbia, in her 4th year of study and hopes to better understand the processes of ADT under different conditions and to explore other pathways or mechanisms to target the cells.

“It is my hope that my experience with the APCRC – Q will help to discover the field I enjoy most, as I prepare to pursue a combined MD/PhD,” Ms McGowan said.

Ms Sarkar was successful in receiving a $1,700 One World Scholarship for her work in the effects of insulin on prostate cancer cells.

Applicants for this award must demonstrate both academic merit as well as significant involvement in their community and school.

The student has recently completed an honours thesis in health sciences and is in her 5th year of a Health Sciences Degree at SFU.

“I have a deep love for molecular biology and my research project at the APCRC – Q will allow me opportunities to gain more knowledge and specialization,” she said.

Ms McGowan and Ms Sarkar work in a team led by Dr Brett Hollier, Senior Research Fellow at the APCRC – Q, whose work in developing new targeted therapeutics designed to stop certain cancers from progressing, has recently won him an Early Career Smart Futures Fellowship from the Queensland Government.

Collaboration results in ground-breaking discovery

A recent paper in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI) revealed new therapeutic options for prostate cancer treatment.

APCRC-Q researchers Dr Melanie Lehman and Prof Colleen Nelson teamed up with researchers from Sydney, Vancouver, Adelaide, and Brisbane in a collaboration which began through the Prostate Cancer Collaborative Research Alliance and resulted in a ground-breaking discovery, which has brought scientists closer to a new treatment for prostate cancer that relies on starving tumours of essential nutrients they need to grow.

In a recently published article in JNCI, lead investigators Dr Qian Wang and Dr Jeff Holst, both of the Origins of Cancer Laboratory, Centenary Institute, Sydney and their collaborators demonstrate that they can slow the growth of the cancer by blocking the proteins which pump the amino acid leucine into tumour cells.

A JNCI editorial on the article by Dr Andrew Tee from Cardiff University describes this work as “a landmark article that uncovers the Achilles heel of prostate cancer,” and goes on to say that “Discovery of this leucine hunger in metastatic prostate cancer opens up a new therapeutic option to treat prostate cancer by inhibiting amino acid transporters.”

Leucine is not only used to construct proteins within cells, but it also stimulates cell division—and overactive cell division causes cancer. However, leucine cannot be produced within the body, making it an essential nutrient which must come from the diet and be transported into cells by specialised protein pumps. 

In 2011, the team demonstrated that prostate cancer cells have more pumps on their surface than ordinary cells, which allows the cancer cells to take in more leucine and outgrow normal cells.

In the new study, researchers blocked the leucine pumps with chemicals, which resulted in inhibition of the activity of more than 100 genes responsible for prostate cancer growth and spread.

“There are currently no drugs that target these nutrient pumps,” Dr Holst says, “but we are working on that. We are confident we will have new compounds available for testing in the clinic in the next few years.”

Prof Colleen Nelson said: “The work is particularly good news for men suffering from prostate cancers that have become resistant to standard treatments, such as Androgen deprivation therapy (lowering the levels of exposure to male sex hormones).”

The team’s work was supported by the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, Movember, National Breast Cancer Foundation, Cancer Institute NSW, Ramaciotti Foundation, Rebecca L. Cooper Medical Research Foundation, Tour de Cure, Cancer Australia, Cure the Future, anonymous foundation, National Health & Medical Research Council; and the Prostate Cancer Collaborative Research Alliance.

For interviews contact: Jeff Holst +61 401 081 974 or +61 2 9565 6172

Background information

About Prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Australian men and is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in men (after lung cancer).  Generally at the early and potentially curable stage, prostate cancer does not have obvious symptoms. This makes it different from other benign prostate disorders, which may result in urinary symptoms. Men aged 50 and over should talk to their doctor about prostate cancer and if they decide to be tested, to do so annually. If there is a family history of prostate cancer; men should talk to their doctor from the age of 40.

Source: Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia

For more on prostate cancer diagnosis, treatment and support refer to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia

About the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre-Queensland
The Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre-Queensland (APCRC-Q) is one of two nationally-funded centres of excellence in prostate cancer research. Members of the APCRC-Q comprise a large, coordinated multidisciplinary research team who seamlessly span the discovery, therapeutic and diagnostic development spectrum of prostate cancer.

Researchers within the Centre have expertise in gene expression, regulation, animal models, imaging, steroid hormones, molecular endocrinology and targeted therapeutics.

With a strong focus on the development of new therapeutics and predictive biomarkers for prostate cancer, via a collaborative, trans-disciplinary and translational approach, the APCRC-Q objectives are to:

  • Develop, evaluate, and validate novel biomarkers for patient risk profile stratification.
  • Accelerate discovery and pre-clinical development of anti-cancer therapeutics.
  • Clinically evaluate novel therapeutics in Phase I, II and III trials within a multidisciplinary prostate uro-oncology clinical trials centre.
  • Improve management of prostate cancer patients in Australia through implementing the latest approved advances in prostate cancer treatments.

 

Citation

Targeting Amino Acid Transport in Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer: Effects on Cell Cycle, Cell Growth, and Tumor Development

Qian Wang, Jessamy Tiffen, Charles G. Bailey, Melanie L. Lehman, William Ritchie, Ladan Fazli, Cynthia Metierre, Yue (Julie) Feng, Estelle Li, Martin Gleave, Grant Buchanan, Colleen C. Nelson, John E. J. Rasko and Jeff Holst

Affiliations of authors: Origins of Cancer Laboratory (QW, JT, JH) and Gene & Stem Cell Therapy Program (QW, JT, CGB, WR, CM, YF, JEJR, JH), Centenary Institute, Camperdown, Australia; Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia (QW, JT, CGB, WR, CM, YF, JEJR, JH); Vancouver Prostate Centre, Department of Urologic Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada (MLL, LF, EL, MG, CCN); Cancer Biology Group, Basil Hetzel Institute for Translational Health Research, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia (GB); Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre-Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia (CCN, MLL); Cell and Molecular Therapies, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Camperdown, Australia (JEJR).

Correspondence to: Jeff Holst or
Origins of Cancer Laboratory, Locked Bag 6, Newtown, NSW 2042 Australia.

Abstract and paper at
http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/09/18/jnci.djt241.full?keytype=ref&ijkey=FRXeWMiVvJUgh45

Editorial at
http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/09/18/jnci.djt252.full

Origins of Cancer Laboratory, Centenary Institute Media Release at
http://www.centenary.org.au/p/about/media/mediareleases/2013/09/Host_effect/

Cure Cancer Australia grant for A/Prof Jyotsna Batra

A/Prof Jyotsna Batra was awarded a two year grant to further her work discovering biomarkers for prostate cancer.

Jyotsna was awarded a a two-year grant of $200,000 for her project entitled: Functional and mechanistic characterisation of a novel LncRNA at chromosomal locus 5p15 in prostate cancer.

Through her previous Cure Cancer Australia grants in 2014 and 2015, Jyotsna has identified genetic variations - specifically in the regulation of proteins encoded in a person’s DNA - that predispose men to prostate cancer. These genetic variations are promising therapeutic targets for new treatments for the disease.

Jyotsna believes that changes in gene sequences, when used alongside the traditional Prostate-Specific Antigen blood test (which can be unreliable on its own), can serve as effective biomarkers to identify men predisposed to developing prostate cancer.

These biomarkers can also help distinguish the slowly progressive from the aggressive form of the disease.

“By analysing the DNA of around 50,000 individuals, half of which belongs to prostate cancer patients, we’ve identified 100 genetic variations associated with prostate cancer risk”, she says. “They can collectively explain about 30% of the inherited component of the disease”.

“The 2017 funding will allow me to take the lead from previous work and continue to progress to testing on patients,” she says. 

“It’s given me the freedom to carry out novel and advanced research, which wouldn’t have been otherwise possible".

December 2011 Newsletter

Welcome to the last newsletter for 2011! A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us at APCRC-Q.

Message from APCRC-Q's Directors

The Centre welcomes our newest Postdoctoral Fellow, Shirly Sieh and Research Assistant Nataly Stylianou to the APCRC-Q team.

Next year promises to be another busy year, with many upcoming events, both for the centre and for us as Directors.

We look forward to finalising our annual Australian-Canadian Prostate Cancer Research Alliance (Aus-Can PCRA) Symposium and will endeavour to keep you posted.

The fortnightly Seminar Series, held at the Princess Alexandra Hospital will once again inform you of the latest research in the field of prostate cancer.

Professor Colleen Nelson and Professor Judith Clements


In the December 2011 Newsletter:

  • Scientific Promise Rewarded
  • Prestigious Award Received
  • PAH Research Foundation Cancer Seminar
  • New Technique Developments
  • United Research Discussion
  • GAP News
  • Rodeo Raises Funds
  • Publication Success
  • Seminar Series Wrap Up
  • Aus-Can Symposium
  • Market Day Raises Funds

 

Christmas Office Closure

The office at APCRC-Q will be closed from close of business Friday 23rd December and will reopen Tuesday 3rd January 2012.

Swan shows his support

Thursday 29 December 2011, the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre – Queensland received a visit from Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Treasurer, the Hon. Wayne Swan MP. Mr Swan penned an Opinion piece on the subject of prostate cancer entitled, "Simple test to save a bloke's life".

Opinion Piece: Simple Test to Save a Bloke's Life - Courier Mail

Deputy PM Wayne Swan MP, visits the PA Hospital and APCRC - Q.

Nearly 23 years ago, my father Morrie Swan passed away from Prostate Cancer at the age of 67. It was a terribly sad time – especially because he suffered a lot of pain.

I was 35 when he passed away, and like most men around that age, I got on with things and concentrated a lot on my career and starting a family.

I didn't think much about my own vulnerabilities until some 12 years later, when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

I'm still alive today, and my children still have a dad, because I was diagnosed early by way of a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test.

Even though I'd watched my father die a really painful death from prostate cancer, I never thought I'd get the disease myself.

I had no idea that if a first-degree relative – your father or brother – experiences prostate cancer, your chances of getting the disease increase from one-in-ten to one-in-three.

And I didn't know what the symptoms were. I nearly paid the ultimate price for that ignorance – which is why it's vital we do everything we can to promote the importance of men getting tested for prostate cancer.

That's why I'll be heading along today to the Princess Alexandra Hospital to have a look at the great work that's being done there.

For many Aussie blokes, our aversion to doctors and looking after our health is often matched only by our love of footy and a few beers.

But it doesn't take much. The PSA test that I took allows men, particularly those with a family history of the cancer like myself, to get checked out and, importantly, find out early if they do have the cancer.

Sadly every year in Australia an average of over 3000 men lose their lives to Prostate Cancer, which works out to something like one death every 3 hours of every day.

Tragic figures which, less than a week after Christmas, should be pause for thought for any father reading this to contemplate.

The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia have done a great job over the years promoting the PSA test and getting more Australian men tested.

Since establishing itself as a lifesaving method of early prostate cancer diagnosis in the 1990s, the PSA test has had its critics, usually a noisy minority at best.

Tragically, the vital importance of PSA testing has been undermined recently due largely to a widely criticised report released overseas this year.

PSA testing saved my life. So I have no doubt that we can't let dads and granddads avoid a potentially life-saving PSA blood test because of this report.

When there is so much practical evidence of the lives saved by the PSA test in every community across Australia, it's really worrying that all the progress over the last decade in educating Aussie blokes about getting themselves checked out could be at risk.

The message is simple: if you have a family history of prostate cancer or are over 50 years of age, speak to you doctor about getting tested for prostate cancer.

Make it a priority in 2012 – it's a new year's resolution that could save your life.

Wayne Swan
Acting Prime Minister
29 December 2011

 

Click here to view online

Dietmar Hutmacher awarded the title of Distinguished Professor

Professor Dietmar Hutmacher was awarded the title of Distinguished Professor for his services to biomedical engineering.

Dietmar leads the Australian Research Council Industrial Transformation Training Centre in Additive Biomanufacturing, with the aim of custom-designing and manufacturing medical implants as well as scaffolds that encourage cell growth and tissue regeneration for use in the hospitals of the future.

Distinguished Professor Judith Clements awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia

APCRC-Q Scientific Director, Distinguished Professor Judith Clements, was awarded the nation's foremost honour, the Companion of the Order of Australia, as part of the Queen's Birthday celebrations in June 2015.

D/Prof Clements was honoured for her outstanding contribution to biomedical research, particularly prostate cancer research, and for her success in generating ongoing funding to support the establishment of critically-needed national medical research facilities.

From 1997-2014, D/Prof Clements led the Cancer Research Program in QUT's Faculties of Science and Technology, and Health, and at the university's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI), where she continues to lead research programs which aim to more clearly understand the molecular and cellular basis for the development, progression, and spread of prostate and ovarian cancer.

The main focus of her research is the role of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA)-related enzymes and their utility as biomarkers or therapeutic targets for prostate and ovarian cancer. She has been internationally recognised for her pioneering research in this field – having been a recipient of the Silver (2000) and Gold (2007) medals from the German E. K. Frey - E. Werle Foundation.

In addition to her role as Scientific Director of the APCRC-Q, D/Prof Clements is the Chair of the Queensland Board of the Prostate Cancer Foundation Australia (PCFA) and in that capacity sits on its national board.

D/Prof Clements is a co-founder and current Chair of the Australian Prostate Cancer Bio-Resource (APCB), a national tissue bank, which collects, annotates, and makes available prostate cancer tissues and other clinical samples for research studies, both within Australia and overseas. She is also co-leader of the Queensland node of the international genetic consortium for prostate cancer, PRACTICAL, a key consortium that has discovered 100 new genetic regions that are associated with prostate cancer risk.

QUT Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Coaldrake applauded D/Prof Clements as a “prostate cancer research leader and advocate on a state and national level”.

"A QUT researcher of long standing D/Prof Clements continues to achieve ground-breaking discoveries and it is this unwavering commitment to make advances in cancer research as well as her strong collaborative approach and mentoring capacity that are her hallmarks.”

Dr Ian Vela awarded the 2015 TOLMAR ANZUP Uro-Oncology Clinical Research Fellowship

APCRC-Q Urologic Oncologist and Senior Research Fellow Dr Ian Vela was awarded the prestigious TOLMAR ANZUP Uro-Oncology Clinical Research Fellowship (CRF) for his project which aims to implement ground breaking technology, which will allow in vitro growth of metastatic prostate cancer and circulating tumour cells.

“This project builds on world first technology developed in association with the Hubrecht Institute in the Netherlands during my Urologic Oncology Fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC),” explains Dr Vela.

“With the aid of this award, I intend to establish locally this novel technology, and integrate it into clinical trial workflow and as part of a potential precision medicine program.”

Presentation of the fellowship, which is valued at $60,000, was made at the Australian and New Zealand Urogenital and Prostate (ANZUP) Cancer Trials Group Annual Scientific Meeting in Sydney on 14 July 2015.

The CRF is offered annually to clinician scientists whose research aligns with ANZUP’s mission to conduct clinical trial research to improve treatment of bladder, kidney, testicular and prostate cancers. This year the focus was on prostate cancer research.

ANZUP Cancer Trials Group is an active and emerging cooperative trials group, established to bring together all the professional disciplines and groups involved in researching and treating urogenital cancers, and committed to supporting and encouraging members to actively participate in clinical trials research.

 TOLMAR Australia is a specialist uro-oncology company providing medicines and locally informed support to men with advanced prostate cancer, as well as healthcare professionals in Australia and New Zealand.

Dr Ian Vela receives a 2015 Movember Clinician Scientist Award

APCRC-Q Urologic Oncologist and Senior Research Fellow Dr Ian Vela is one of only two clinician scientists across the country to receive a 2015 Movember Clinician Scientist Award.

The Clinician Scientist Award, recently announced by the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA),  aims to bridge the gap between clinical and laboratory work by assisting outstanding clinicians to work closely with laboratory scientists and further their careers in prostate cancer research.

This award will provide Dr Vela with $450,000 over the next three years to support his research into precision medicine in advanced and oligometastatic prostate cancer.

“This award will help us to establish a precision medicine program for men with advanced and metastatic prostate cancer,” Dr Vela explained.

“This will enable us to identify potential effective treatment strategies based on the genetic analyses of individual patient's cancers and the response of their cancer to various treatments in the laboratory.  Our aim is to improve patient outcomes by determining and using the right treatment, at the right time, in the right patient.“

This is the first time that PCFA and the Movember Foundation have accepted applications for the Clinician Scientist Award, with the Movember Foundation investing over $1 million for the new award category to support research into prostate cancer biology, treatment, diagnosis, survivorship and prevention.

“We congratulate Dr Vela on this excellent achievement, which offers an exceptional opportunity to advance his valuable research into prostate cancer," said Prof Colleen Nelson, Executive Director of the APCRC-Q.

Dr Jyotsna Batra receives prestigious 2014 Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Samman Award

APCRC-Q geneticist, Dr Jyostna Batra, recently won a prestigious Indian Award for her research on the genetic biomarkers of prostate cancer aimed at improving early diagnosis of the cancer to enable targeted treatment.

Dr Batra, who is based within the APCRC-Q at Brisbane's Translational Research Institute (TRI) at Princess Alexandra Hospital, is one of only 30 recipients of the 2014 Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Samman award, given to people of Indian origin living in other countries to help further their education or careers.

"My research is aimed at finding better biomarkers that will help us identify men who are predisposed to develop prostate cancer by determining the genetic factors responsible for causing the cancer," says Dr Batra, a leader in functional genomics research that focuses on cancer diagnosis and treatment.

"Developing a better understanding of the underlying genetics of cancer will give doctors the best chance of diagnosing cancer early and treating it when a patient's potential for survival is high.

"As cancer progresses toward a more advanced state, successful treatment becomes more challenging, and the process becomes more difficult for both doctors and also for patients. Late stage treatment also places a greater strain on the health service."

Dr Batra was first awarded an Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation Fellowship in 2008. This Fellowship enabled me to come to Australia and start my career seven years ago. I have adjusted well in the new research environment and now successfully lead my own research group," she said.

Subsequently, she has been awarded a National Health and Medical Research Council project grant,Peter Doherty Fellowship, and, recently, a Career Development Award (2015-2018), as well as Cancer Australia Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme funding for her valuable research.

"I am deeply grateful to Distinguished Professor Judith Clements, whose mentorship and support have been instrumental in assisting me with my research and in achieving this award.

Dr Batra received the award from Puducherry Governor Virendra Kataria, on behalf of Indian President Pranab Mukherjee.

"I am delighted to have such recognition in India, my country of origin, for my contribution to science, and I feel privileged and honoured to be among 30 Indians who have been recognised," she said.

Dr Batra collaborates with Dr Sharmila Bapat at the National Centre for Cell Science in Pune, India with the aid of an Australia-India Strategic Research Fund grant, and with Dr Sunita Saxena at the National Institute of Pathology in Delhi.

“We are very proud and pleased to have one of our researchers honoured with such a prestigious award,” said Distinguished Professor Judith Clements, Scientific Director of the APCRC-Q.

“We are delighted to be able to attract and retain such high calibre international researchers as Dr Batra at the APCRC-Q.”

Dual successes for APCRC-Q PhD student, Claire Levrier

It has been an impressive month for APCRC-Q PhD student, Claire Levrier, who was recently awarded two exciting accolades.

She won first prize for her oral presentation at the Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR) Postgraduate Student Conference held at Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) on 27 May 2015.

Claire's presentation was entitled:  "Mechanism of action studies in prostate cancer cells of a new compound isolated from an Australian endemic rainforest tree". The award included a cash prize of $300.

Claire was also awarded a CTx PhD top-up scholarship, worth $10,000 per annum for her research aimed at discovering new cytotoxic compounds from Australian endemic plants and their mechanisms of action in prostate cancer.

“These are very worthy achievements,” said APCRC-Q Executive Director and Claire’s co-supervisor, Prof Colleen Nelson. “Congratulations, Claire!”

40 QUT positions for tomorrow's research and academic leaders - Early Career Academic Recruitment and Development Program (ECARD) & QUT Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellowship (VCRF)

QUT is a highly successful, energetic and innovative university that is backing its aspirations with a significant and continuing investment in people, state-of-the-art infrastructure and collaborative work environments.

ECARD

Join QUT's Early Career Academic Recruitment and Development Program (ECARD). 20 ongoing (tenure track) positions for tomorrow's research and academic leaders.

QUT defines an Early Career Academic as a person who is within their first three years in an academic role that includes teaching, research and service activities.

Positions include:

More information visit www.qut.edu.au/jobs or refer to the flyer.

Applications close 29 June 2015

VCRF

QUT is a highly successful, energetic and innovative university that is backing its aspirations with a significant and continuing investment in people, state-of-the-art infrastructure and collaborative work environments.

The Queensland University of Technology’s Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellowship (VCRF) scheme provides an excellent opportunity, particularly for computational biologists, to join the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre – Queensland (APCRC-Q) research team.

QUT is offering up to 20 Fellowships for leading postdoctoral researchers on a three year fixed-term basis. These prestigious fellowships are available in the following target research areas:

  • Behavioural Neuroscience and Imaging
  • Infectious Disease
  • Injury Prevention, Management and Rehabilitation
  • Medical Robotics
  • Bioproducts
  • Digital Productivity
  • Data Science, Computational Modelling and Simulation Science
  • Integrated STEM Education for the Young
  • Design and Health
  • Technology, Strategy and Innovation
  • Intellectual Property
  • Sustainable Power Engineering

Applicants must be within 0 to 10 years since the award of the PhD. Further information about the Fellowship scheme is available in the attached guidelines and applications are due on Monday 29 June 2015.

If you are interested in applying for this Fellowship in connection with APCRC-Q, please register your interest via email to

More information visit www.qut.edu.au/jobs or refer to the guidelines.

When applying for this position you are required to:

  1. Upload your Curriculum Vitae (maximum 10 pages) and demonstrate as part of your CV your personal achievement in relation to the topics in selection criteria 1 in the guidelines.
  2. Provide a detailed research project proposal (maximum 8 pages) and indicate that prior contact and confirmation of the suitability of the proposed project has been discussed with the relevant Assistant Dean (Research) and/or Institute Director. The requirements of the research project proposal can be found in selection criteria 2 in the guidelines.
  3. For Research Fellows only (Level C) upload your statement of claims (maximum 2 pages) including examples outlining your suitability for the role referring to selection criteria 3 in the guidelines.

ENDO 2016 Presidential Poster Prize for Patrick Thomas

APCRC-Q PhD candidate, Patrick Thomas, was awarded the ENDO 2016 Presidential Poster Prize for the Category “Tumour Biology” at the Endocrine Society’s 98th Annual Meeting and Expo, held in April 2016, in Boston, USA.

The Presidential Poster Competition recognises high-scoring young researchers, who are presenting-authors of a poster presentation, for excellence in the field of endocrinology. Expert faculty members serve as Poster Judges to evaluate presenters on their poster quality, presentation skills, scientific rigor, and impact.

Patrick presented the poster entitled “Targeting the Long Non-Coding RNA, GHSROS, a Mediator of Prostate Cancer Tumour Growth, with Antisense Oligonucleotides”, which describes the team’s investigation into the role of a long non-coding RNA called GHSROS in prostate cancer growth.

“We were able to identify that GHSROS plays an important role in cell proliferation, migration, survival and growth of prostate cancer tumours, indicating that it would be a promising therapeutic target in certain types of prostate cancer,” said Patrick.

“Furthermore, we were able to design novel molecules, known as LNA antisense oligonucleotides, and use these to effectively block the action of GHSROS. These findings have important implications for the future design of therapeutics for patients with prostate cancer.”

“I would like to congratulate Patrick, on this achievement,” said Prof Colleen Nelson, Executive Director of the APCRC-Q, and co-author of the poster.

Prof Nelson also attended the ENDO2016 meeting, which celebrated the Endocrinology Society’s Centennial, along with Mr Thomas, and fellow poster co-authors, Prof Lisa Chopin and Dr Inge Seim.

Funding flows for Dr Brett Hollier and Dr Brian Tse

Two APCRC-Q researchers, Dr Brett Hollier and Dr Brian Tse, recently enjoyed funding success.

Dr Brett Hollier was awarded a project grant from Cancer Australia, as well as an Endeavour Research Fellowship.

Dr Hollier’s project, entitled: Targeting neuropilin-1 to inhibit prostate cancer metastasis and therapy resistance, was awarded $200,000 over two years from Cancer Australia and funding partners Cure Cancer Australia Foundation and the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.

“I am delighted to be a recipient of this award,” said Dr Hollier, “The project aims to deliver an alternative treatment modality that can be used alone or in combination with current standard of care treatments to improve outcomes for patients with advanced prostate cancer.”

This study will pave the way for larger scale preclinical and clinical trials in the prostate cancer setting, with the ultimate goal of accelerating the translation of therapeutics into the clinic for prostate cancer patients.

“I am also very pleased to receive an Endeavour Research Fellowship from the Australian Government,” added Dr Hollier. “It will allow me to undertake a four month exchange visit to the world-renowned Vancouver Prostate Centre under the supervision of Professor Ralph Buttyan.

“During this exchange I will conduct research to better understand key biological processes underpinning the transition of prostate cancer from a relatively indolent and curable state into one that is resistant to contemporary therapies and the major cause of mortality.

“This research brings together two innovative and unique models of epithelial plasticity developed by myself and Professor Buttyan to provide a first ever analysis of critical tumour cell adaptive responses to anti-cancer therapies. My exchange visit to Professor Buttyan’s laboratory will be critical for initiating this synergistic program of research.”

This exchange programme will continue APCRC-Q’s strong commitment to strengthening collaborative links with internationally recognised investigators to deliver significant high impact research outcomes.

US Department of Defense Postdoctoral Training Award for Dr Tse

Dr Brian Tse successfully secured a Postdoctoral Training Award from the United States Department of Defense for his project entitled: "Developing a Novel Therapeutic Strategy Targeting Kallikrein-4 to Inhibit Prostate Cancer Growth and Metastasis.”

“I am very pleased to receive this award,” said Dr Tse, “It will facilitate the achievement of my aim to improve the clinical management of prostate cancer by developing a highly unique and novel form of cancer therapy that will prevent prostate cancers from spreading, and stop them from becoming more aggressive.

“Under the guidance of my mentors, Professor Pamela Russell, and Distinguished Professor Judith Clements, I will be investigating new therapies involving functionally inhibiting the serine protease, KLK4, which has been found to play a role in prostate cancer “homing” to bone. By inhibiting the actions of KLK4, we aim to prevent the spread of prostate cancer to the bone and other anatomical sites.

“What’s more, our approach is designed to target prostate cancer cells only, thus lowering the risk of side effects that are common for conventional chemotherapies where all cells of the body are subjected to the drug,” he added.

Dr Tse is the second APCRC-Q postdoctoral fellow (after Dr Carolina Soekmadji) to receive one of these highly sought-after and competitive awards.

Funding Success for Drs Hollier, Vela and Srinivasan

Dr Brett Hollier and Dr Srilakshmi (Sri) Srinivasan, recently received funding from the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, and Dr Ian Vela successfully secured a Metro South Health Research Support Scheme Project Grant.

PCFA Awards for Dr Brett Hollier and Dr Sri Srinivasan

Two APCRC-Q researchers, Dr Brett Hollier and Dr Srilakshmi (Sri) Srinivasan, recently received funding from the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.

Dr Hollier’s project, entitled: “Discovery of new therapeutic targets for aggressive prostate cancer”, was awarded a New Concept Grant valued at $100,000 for one year.

“I am delighted to be a recipient of this award,” said Dr Hollier, “The project aims to discover new therapeutic targets for a particularly aggressive and therapy resistant form of prostate cancer, known as Neuroendocrine prostate cancer (NEPC).

“Current clinical therapies are not effective at inhibiting the growth and spread of NEPC and men diagnosed with NEPC have a very poor prognosis. It is hoped that findings from our study will reveal new therapeutic strategies to specifically kill this form of prostate cancer and improve outcomes for men with NEPC.”

Dr Srinivasan received a John Mills Young Investigator Award of $75,000 for one year, for her project entitled “Improving the effectiveness of the PSA test”.

“I am honoured to receive this Award,” said Dr Srinivasan. “The current PSA test needs to be more effective and reliable and a personalised approach to modify this test could improve its effectiveness.”

“This study will comprehensively analyse how an inherited factor affects PSA’s role in disease progression. The outcomes from this study may lead to a new type of PSA test that has the potential to save and improve the lives of men with prostate cancer.”

 Metro South Health Research Support Scheme Award for Dr Ian Vela

Dr Ian Vela successfully secured a Metro South Health Research Support Scheme Project Grant of $75,000 for one year, for his project entitled: "Investigation of the role of lymph node metastasis in initiation and progression of bone metastasis.”

“I am very pleased to receive this award,” said Dr Vela. “We don’t understand why some patients have only lymph node metastasis and some patients present with bone only or mixed metastasis. This study will help us to understand if there are specific interactions between prostate cancer cells and bone cells, which leads to bone metastasis and how spread to lymph nodes by the cancer may influence this interaction. This information is critical to find new targets to inhibit, prevent, or treat prostate cancer metastases.”

APCRC-Q & QUT supporting Blue September

APCRC-Q held 2 fundraising barbecues at the Princess Alexandra Hospital for Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. QUT turned the cube on top of Z Block Gardens Point blue for most of September.
APCRC-Q & QUT supporting Blue September

APCRC-Q barbecue for Blue September

QUT turned the cube blue Z block Gardens Point

September was Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and APCRC-Q held 2 fundraising barbecues at the Princess Alexandra Hospital on Thursday 15th and 22nd September.

Over $500 was raised to help the Prostate Cancer Foundation Australia (PCFA) to continue their vital research into the cause, treatment and prevention of prostate cancer.

Thanks to all who assisted and supported us.

Grant Success

Dr Varinder Jeet's recent funding success.

Recently, Dr Varinder Jeet, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre – Queensland (APCRC – Q) received an Early Career Researchers’ Grant from the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI).

Dr Jeet was awarded the grant as part of the Cells and Tissue Domain at the Queensland University of Technology.

IHBI funded six of the awards, with the Human Health and Wellbeing Domain and the Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation Domain funding the remainder.

This award will enable Dr Jeet to continue his important research in the area of prostate cancer.

Congratulations Dr Jeet!

Hollier's Grant Success

Early Career Smart Futures Fellowship awarded to Dr Brett Hollier of APCRC - Q.

Recently, Dr Brett Hollier, Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre – Queensland, received $180,000 over 3 years in new funding from the Queensland Government’s Smart Futures Fund as part of the Early Career Smart Futures Fellowship.

Dr Hollier’s project is entitled “Smarter Targeted Cancer Therapies for a Healthier Queensland” and will build upon existing Queensland research by developing new targeted therapeutics designed to stop cancers such as breast, prostate cancer and melanoma from progressing.

This grant will enable the researcher to continue investigating strategies to inhibit proteins associated with the process of cancer cell migration by targeting multi-protein growth factor complexes.

“We’ll look at how the proteins affect genes inside cancer cells, how to block association of these proteins as well as developing an antibody to simultaneously block the receptors that the proteins activate on the surface of cancer cells,” Dr Hollier said.

After a 2 year postdoctoral position at the M.D Anderson Cancer Centre (MDACC) in Houston, Texas, investigating the role of EMT in cancer stem cells and breast cancer metastasis, Dr Hollier returned to Australia and joined the Tissue Repair and Regeneration (TRR) program within the Institute of Health and Biomedical (IHBI, QUT) and has recently become an active member of the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre – Queensland as a Senior Research Fellow.

An early career researcher with an interest in understanding the mechanisms that mediate cancer metastasis, his research focuses on the Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF) family and the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) program.

Dr Hollier said it was hoped that new therapeutics would eventually be able to stop the progression of a range of pre-existing cancers to improve patient outcomes.

Dr Hollier was one of only two QUT researchers to receive this grant which was officially announced at BIO 2012 held in Boston (USA) in June.

This research aims to improve the health outcomes of Queenslanders battling cancer and reduce the burden of cancer on the individual and society.

Host a Big Aussie Barbie this September

This year more than 20,000 Australian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 3,300 will die of the disease (PCFA). Help raise funds for prostate cancer by hosting a Big Aussie Barbie!

Register for 2012


The BARBIE is one of the great Aussie icons.

It celebrates all the good things about this country – the weather, the food and the people.

It seems only natural to us that it also celebrates the Aussie male and helps us raise money and awareness for prostate health.

 

Register your best ever BIG AUSSIE BARBIE today.

  • Host a footy BARBIE to celebrate your team
  • Host a spring BARBIE to celebrate the new season
  • Host a BARBIE with your friends to celebrate your mates
  • Host a BARBIE around Father’s Day to celebrate your dad, grandad and all the men you love in your life

 

Don’t worry if you can’t host a BIG AUSSIE BARBIE, you can still support the campaign and Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia by making a tax deductible donation.


Your donation will assist to help advance research, raise awareness and provide essential peer support to men living with prostate cancer and their families.

Visit the Big Aussie Barbie website for more information.

IHBI Gala Success

A highly successful Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI) Gala reception was held in December to showcase the Institute’s research achievements on its’ 5th Anniversary.

Professor Colleen Nelson spoke on her passionate thoughts on translational research and on the Centres’ model objectives and aims of APCRC – Q as well as current research projects.

Ross Young is the Executive Director of IHBI.

“This was an opportunity to showcase our work to members of the commercial and health communities and was well attended,” he said.

“Nick Graves and Colleen Nelson both spoke very well and the night was extremely well organised by IHBI Directorate staff.

IHBI Gala 2011 - Ross Young, Colleen Nelson, Nick Graves

International Poster Prizes for APCRC-Q Researchers

APCRCQ Researchers, Dr Jyotsna Batra, Dr Carolina Soekmadji and Ms Nataly Stylianou were recipients of International Prizes for posters outlining their research in 2014.

Dr Jyostna Batra was awarded the Best Poster Prize at the 10th Indo-Australian Conference on Biotechnology, Manipal, India, in April 2014 for her poster entitled: “Exploring the role of miRSNPs in diagnosis and prognosis of prostate cancer”.

“I am very pleased to have won this award, said Dr Batra. “These results will provide an impetus for future diagnostic genetic tests for cancer risk assessment and prevention management and would be the first step towards miRNA-based pharmacogenomics. The findings will also be applicable to other hormone-related cancers including ovarian, breast and colon cancers, through our collaborative research.”

Dr Carolina Soekmadji also received a Best Poster Prize for her poster entitled: “Exosomes influence proliferation of androgen sensitive prostate cancer cells” at the 3rd International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) meeting.

This major international meeting held in Rotterdam in May 2014 attracted nearly 700 delegates. “It was an honour to win this award,” said Dr Soekmadji. “My poster presentation described our research into the effects of androgen deprivation, dihydrotestosterone, and an androgen antagonist, MDV3100, on secretion of exosomes from prostate cancer cells.

“Exosomes are vesicles secreted by cells,” Dr Soekmadji explains. “They mediate cell-to-cell communication.  This field is fairly new in prostate cancer, and we are investigating the role of exosomes via high throughput analysis.

“Understanding the role of exosomes in prostate cancer will allow us to develop exosome-targeted treatment in the future. We also collaborate with other groups around the world, supported by Movember’s  Global Action Plan, to help make this vision a reality,” she adds.

Congratulations to the winners & finalists of the 2014 TRI Poster Symposium

The 2nd Annual Translational Research Institute (TRI) Poster Symposium for Early and Mid-career researchers was held on the 16 October 2014 at the TRI on the Princess Alexandra Hospital Campus, Brisbane.

APCRC-Q researcher, Dr Jyotsna Batra was awarded second place in the Oral Presentation category for her presentation on the role of miRSNPs in diagnosis and prognosis of prostate cancer. This work combines the well-established mechanism of miRNA regulation in the prostate cancer aetiology with the unexplored area of regulatory genetic variants in untranslated gene regions to yield clinically-relevant information. Dr Batra presented some findings from her research, which innovatively combines expertise in genetic, molecular, and computational biology to increase our understanding of cancer biology.

Ms Nataly Stylianou came second in the Poster Presentation category with her poster entitled: “Investigating the Role of Epithelial to Mesenchymal Plasticity in Prostate Cancer.”  Nataly’s research involves understanding the process by which cancer cells acquire the ability to spread in the body and form secondary tumours.  With this knowledge, Nataly aims to identify therapeutic targets that could inhibit cancer cells from spreading.

January 2012 Newsletter

Welcome to the first newsletter of 2012! January and the holidays have been a busy and exciting time for APCRC—Q.

Message from APCRC-Q’s Directors

The Centre welcomes our newest Research Fellow Bioinformaticians, Dr Melanie Lehman and Dr Chenwei Wang to the Prostate Centre. Both women are accomplished, with strong track records in genomics-oriented computational analysis and will be invaluable to our research activities.

This year promises to be another busy one, with many upcoming events.
In late December, the Centre was pleased to host the Acting Prime Minister, the Hon. Wayne Swan MP, whom participated in a media interview on prostate cancer testing and we were able to show-case the clinical and translational activities of the APCRC - Q.

Recently, Colleen attended a Women in Leadership dinner, hosted by the Canadian Consul-General in Sydney, to promote women’s roles in science, international networking and leadership positions.

We are pleased to announce that our 3rd international Prostate Cancer Research Alliance (Aus-Can PCRA) Symposium will be held in April 2012 on Daydream Island. See page 2 for more details.

The fortnightly APCRC—Q Seminar Series, held at the Princess Alexandra Hospital will once again inform you of the latest research in the field of prostate cancer, the first one being held on February 2nd.

Best wishes for the New Year!

Professor Colleen Nelson and Professor Judith Clements

Issue highlights:

In the January 2012 Newsletter:

  • Deputy PM appeals to public
  • Aus-Can Symposium announced
  • Seminar Series kicks off
  • Wayne Swan MP opinion piece

Jennifer Gunter and Michael Doran awarded PCFA research grants

Not one, but two researchers from the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre - Queensland (APCRC-Q) received Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) research grants in the 2012 funding round announced on Friday 26 October.

Dr Jennifer Gunter was one of only four researchers in Australia to be awarded the sought-after Young Investigator Grant for her project entitled: How does the metabolic syndrome contribute to prostate cancer progression and treatment resistance? Targeting hyperinsulinaemia in castrate resistant prostate cancer.

 “I'm very pleased and proud to receive this grant,” said Dr Gunter. “Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australian males, and, unfortunately, about 25% of those diagnosed fail primary therapy and commence androgen deprivation therapy. Although effective in treating the tumour, this therapy induces the ‘metabolic syndrome’ with symptoms similar to those seen in obesity and diabetes. For some patients this can increase their risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes). In addition, the resulting elevated insulin level in blood is associated with accelerated progression of their prostate cancer towards an incurable stage of the disease resulting in a poor prognosis.”

 “In this project, I will continue to investigate the actions of insulin and anti-diabetic medications on processes that support treatment resistance and cause the cancer to spread to other parts of the body. These findings will help us find out more about how prostate cancer progresses and may open up existing diabetes treatments as potential therapies for prostate cancer.”

 Dr Michael Doran’s project entitled: Engineering a High-Throughput Prostate Cancer Stem Cell Niche Mimic earned one of the eight New Concept Grants awarded in this round.

 “This grant means a great deal to us,” said Dr Doran. “Our project aims to develop a platform of prostate cancer stem cells that will mimic more accurately than existing platforms, the unique micro-environmental conditions within the body that appear to enable prostate cancer-initiating cells to hide from the immune system and evade chemotherapy. This system will function as a powerful tool in the discovery of genetic and cellular factors that perpetuate prostate cancer metastasis to bone and evasion of chemotherapy, leading to the identification and testing of new drugs.”

 “We believe this platform has the potential to supersede existing culture strategies as the ‘gold standard’ for in vitro prostate cancer drug screening.”    

 2012 marked the fifth anniversary of PCFA’s Research Program, which, with the assistance of Movember, has, since its inception in 2007, supported world-class prostate cancer research projects in Australia.  The last five years has seen the program award more than $30M to 136 projects nationwide.

“We are very glad that our Centre has received two grants from the PCFA,” said APCRC-Q Executive Director, Prof Colleen Nelson. “Our congratulations go to the recipients. Their projects have great significance in realising our Centre’s research aims to identify new methods and tools with which to predict, diagnose, and treat prostate cancer.”

Jessica's Poster Success

PhD student, Jessica Lisle wins "Best Poster" at the 13th Australian Prostate Cancer Conference.

PhD student, Jessica Lisle wins "Best Poster" at the 13th Australasian Prostate Cancer Conference.

Recently, prostate cancer focussed PhD student Jessica Lisle was the recipient of the “Best Poster” award in the Translational Science Category at the 13th Australasian Prostate Cancer Conference held in Melbourne, Australia.  This is the second consecutive year that an APCRC-Q researcher has won this poster prize.

Ms Lisle’s poster was entitled “KLK4-initiated protease cleavage of the receptor tyrosine kinase EphB4 at the Surface of Prostate Cancer Cells – A Possible Mechanism for Regulation of EphB4 Signaling” and showed the results of her current research which has revealed the receptor tyrosine kinase protein EphB4 as a new substrate for KLK4 protease.  She has also identified a possible mechanism for the regulation of EphB4 signaling in prostate cancer and in particular the regulation of the ligand-independent tumour progressive actions of EphB4.

Jess is working towards a PhD under the supervision of Queensland University of Technology Lecturer and Group Leader of the Eph Receptor Biology Group, Cancer Research Program, Dr Sally-Anne Stephenson.  She is co-supervised by Professor Adrian Herington and Dr Inga Mertens-Walker.

Ms Lisle’s current research project is to continue to explore protease cleavage of EphB4, determine whether this is important in prostate cancer and whether this mechanism can be targeted to develop new anti-prostate cancer therapies.

Congratulations Jessica!

MicroRNA Profiling Reveals Prostate Cancer Diagnostic Biomarker Panel

APCRC-Q PhD candidate, Farhana Martin, and A/Prof Jyotsna Batra have identified a four microRNA signature with the potential to improve early prostate cancer diagnosis.

The research article detailing this work, entitled “A Plasma Biomarker Panel of Four MicroRNAs for the Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer” by Matin F, Jeet V, Moya L, Selth LA, Chambers S, Australian Prostate Cancer BioResource, Clements JA, Batra J. has been accepted for publication in the Q1 ranked journal, Scientific Reports, published by
Nature Publishing Group.

You can view the full publication here.

Mourning the Mo's

The wrap-up of Movember 2011 saw members of the APCRC-Q and the University of Queensland (UQ), come together to raise funds with a "Mourning the Mo's" morning tea.
Mourning the Mo's

Dr Raj Vasireddy, Mo-King Dr Stephen McPherson, and Dr Varinder Jeet

Co-ordinated by APCRC-Q, researchers and professional staff baked various goods to share with the attendees, whom paid a $2 entry fee to attend.

The 2011 Mo-King was crowned, with Postdoctoral Fellow Stephen McPherson taking out the title with his well-groomed handlebar moustache.

The event was a success and enjoyed by all.

These final funds added to the overall amount raised by the APCRC-Q Movember team.

A big thank-you to all who attended and donated funds to the cause.

Movember - Amanda & Mel Movember - Mourning the Mo's

Let's Talk Movember

Movember started with a conversation between mates and so there’s a nice synergy to the fact that, today, it’s conversation that is central to everything we do; it’s just a bigger conversation.

That one conversation back in 2003 has grown into millions taking place each Movember and it’s the impact of all this talk that we want to tell you about. All too often it’s only the funds raised by a charity that are remembered but equally important, especially at Movember, is the awareness raised. It’s awareness that educates and prompts people to change behaviour and take action, it’s awareness which in our case can ultimately save lives.

As you know, we raise awareness for men’s health by using the growth of a moustache to prompt conversation. But does this actually work? Is all the talk actually making a difference? These are questions we constantly ask ourselves and I’m sure you might have stopped to think about it, too. The answer is without doubt, yes. And we want to take this opportunity to show you how each member of the Movember community is making a difference through the awareness they spread during their individual Movember journey. The facts and stats featured in this short video-clip come from a recent piece of research we did, something that we do each year to ensure that our Awareness & Education program is delivering in line with our objectives. Check out how you’re helping to change the face of men’s health around the world.

*Source:  Movember Australia 2012, http://au.movember.com

APCRC-Q Movember Team 2011

Join our Movember team and invite your family and friends!

You don’t need to grow a mo to join the APCRC-Q Movember Team!

During November each year, men throughout Australia and the world grow moustaches to raise funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer, and depression in men.

The funds raised are intended for programs run directly by Movember and their men’s health partners, the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and beyondblue: the national depression initiative.

Movember 2011 - current global tally $107 million

During November each year, men throughout Australia and the world grow moustaches to raise funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer, and depression in men.

2011 saw nearly 900,000 fundraisers register for the event from countries such as Australia, United States, Canada, United Kingdom, New Zealand, South Africa and many others.

The funds raised are intended for programs run directly by Movember and their men’s health partners, the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and beyondblue: the national depression initiative.

APCRC-Q once again took part in Movember with an online team, morning tea and multiple donations, raising over $2,000 for Movember in total.

Although Movember will not tally the final raised amounts until January, currently Australia is sitting on over $24 million in third place under Canada and the United Kingdom.

The total raised globally, currently has reached an inspiring $107 million and continues to rise.

Figures are updated each hour on the hour at Mo Money.

Congratulations to all who participated in Movember 2011!

Movember in partnership with beyondblue seeks Expressions of Interest for the ASAP Initiative

$6.25 million collaborative network to improve the lives of men living with prostate cancer.

The Movember Foundation, in partnership with beyondblue; the national depression and anxiety initiative, seeks Expressions of Interest from organisations that wish to collaboratively develop new solutions that improve the lives of Australian men living with prostate cancer.

Organisations and or individuals eligible to express interest in
participating in this network include:

  • Public or private prostate cancer secondary care clinicians
  • Primary care practitioners with a focus on prostate cancer
  • Prostate cancer nurse specialists
  • Palliative care providers
  • Sexual health/rehabilitation practitioners
  • Health economists
  • Academics specialising in prostate cancer research and survivorship
  • Academics specialising in evidence based program evaluation
  • Health literacy experts
  • Mental health practitioners
  • Not for profit organisations providing prostate cancer navigation or supportive care services
  • Allied health services and community health services focussed on prostate cancer
  • Technology solutions providers (online/mobile/tele health) in healthcare


Network participants will develop evidence based practical
solutions that can be applied from a local to a national level.

To obtain a copy of the Expression of Interest, please contact
Shannyn Merlo at Shannyn@movember.com

Applications close: 2pm, 4 May 2012 EST

Movember Fundraising Success

Congratulations to the APCRC-Q team who raised a total of $3497 dollars during Movem­ber this year.

Congratulations to the APCRC-Q team who raised a total of $3497 dollars during Movem­ber this year. Their innovative and successful fundraising events inclouded two pop-up nail bars at TRI where talented nail artists painted and decorated nails in a bid to raise money for prostate cancer research.

“We had lots of fun and raised a combined total of 300AUD!” said Nataly Stylianou.

The Movember Foundation is the only charity tackling men’s health on a global scale, year round and a major source of funding for QUT’s dedicated prostate cancer research centre (APCRC-Q). If you would like to make a contribution to stop men dying too young, please visit https://au.movember.com/donate/details?teamId=2250837

Movember Funds Explained

Movember have created a short clip highlighting how Movember funds are being used on a global scale.

Movember runs official campaigns in 21 countries, helping them to bring their men's health partners from around the world together to collaborate, listen, learn from each other and ultimately, make a tangible difference. 

When it comes to raising funds for prostate cancer; most people think of it going towards research. What isn’t understood, is that, equally important are Survivorship programs. These programs can have a dramatic impact on the quality of life of men and their families and carers; they can mean the difference between men living a meaningful, quality life and just living.   

Diagnosis is just the first step in a man's prostate cancer journey, survivorship is the next.

Movember is working hard to have a real impact in the area of Survivorship and they would like to share what they're achieving. They are taking a global approach, as this is a global issue. Please check out how Movember are making a difference.

Read more

Movember Global Action Plan (GAP) Announced

Working alongside a team of world class prostate cancer experts, the GAP aspires to accelerate key outcomes in prostate cancer research, by facilitating global research collaboration projects.

An initiative of the Movember Foundation, the GAP will sit alongside and complement existing programs run by our beneficiary partners around the world.

The Movember GAP will provide support for a limited number of global collaborative initiatives that attract the best prostate cancer researchers in the world from both Movember and non Movember countries.

The key to this initiative is an agreement as ambitious as its goal: not just to fund collaborative global research, but also to share all data freely with the entire prostate cancer community and beyond, via the Movember website.

The Movember Foundation Board has established an independent Global Scientific Committee (GSC), comprising of the very best prostate cancer experts from around the world. The GSC will advise the Board on what research programs should be funded, and how they should be implemented.

APCRC - Q's Professor Colleen Nelson is the GSC Independent Chair, and is in no doubt of the importance of Movember’s GAP:

“Prostate cancer research is often most effective when multi-disciplinary teams across different research institutions work together to address key scientific challenges. This is usually done within a given centre, occasionally across one country. Rarely is there an opportunity to do this on a global scale. Movember GAP provides an unprecedented challenge and opportunity to unite prostate cancer researchers across the globe to achieve key breakthroughs faster.”

Movember Open for Business

Join our Movember team!

Movember 2012

 

OPEN FOR BUSINESS

 

Movember 2012 focuses on what it means to be a better man – the year of Movember & Sons.

 

“The collective knowledge of generations gives us great power to avoid mistakes of the past, plan thoughtfully for the future and to become the best version of one’s self.”

 

The Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre – Queensland would like to invite you to join our Movember team to raise awareness and funds for Prostate Cancer Awareness.

 

You can visit our website for the latest news and events to be held in support of Movember at the Princess Alexandra Hospital.

 

Those wanting to grow a Mo for Movember, please let me know so we can promote our Mo-Growers and follow their progress.

GAP1 Xenograft Project and the GAP1 Unique TMAs Project

Movember's Global Action Plan (GAP) prostate cancer biomarker initiative

Movember has released a global “Expression of Interest” to identify and engage interested researchers with relevant expertise in these two research areas:


The information received during the EOI process will be used to create trans-national multi-disciplinary teams who will collaborate to answer key clinical questions.

Movember's Second GAP Project Launched

Friday 14th September, Movember announced the second project funded under its Global Action Plan (GAP) program.

This two year global project will involve researchers from around the world collaborating to investigate cutting-edge imaging in metastatic prostate cancer. The specific aims of the project are to improve the detection and understanding of the metastatic process, enhance the ability to track the progress of therapies and better understand the pathophysiology of bone pain in advanced prostate cancer. Movember will invest AUD $5 million into promising collaborative imaging research projects.

EOI Information and key dates

Through an expression of interest (EOI) process, Movember seeks to identify interested researchers and their prostate cancer imaging capabilities and expertise. At the conclusion of the EOI period, researchers with relevant capabilities and expertise will be invited, through a consensus-based model, to develop integrated collaborative global research projects.

To participate in the project, interested parties are requested to contact the Project Manager for GAP2, Sam Gledhill by email at sam@movember.com to arrange for online registration.
Expressions of interest close at 5pm 2nd November 2012 AEST.

 

Read the full press release here.

Nathalie Bock selected to meet Nobel Laureates in Tokyo

Dr Nathalie Bock has been invited to attend the 9th Japan Society for the Promotion of Science HOPE meeting in Tokyo in February 2017. She is one of six Australian graduate students given the opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary discussions with Nobel Laureates and other distinguished scientists.

HOPE Meetings provide opportunities to excellent graduate students selected from countries and areas in the Asia-Pacific and Africa region to engage in interdisciplinary discussions with Nobel Laureates and other distinguished scientists pioneering the frontiers to knowledge.

Nathalie hopes the meeting will provide inspiration, perspective and international networks to progress her research into bioengineered prostate cancer tumour models used to investigate responses to therapies. 

At the HOPE Meeting, Nathalie will attend the Nobel Prize Dialogue Tokyo 2017 on the first day of the program. She will actively join the event by asking questions at the Q&A sessions after the lectures and a panel discussion on “The Future of Intelligence ”, and thus contributed to the symposium.

The formal reception of Nobel Prize Dialogue Tokyo 2017 and the 9th HOPE Meeting will be jointly held in the presence of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress in the evening.

NHMRC Fellowships for Two APCRC-Q Researchers

Two APCRC-Q researchers were awarded sought-after Fellowships in the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grant round for funding starting in 2015.

APCRC-Q researchers were awarded over $1 million in National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grants announced in October 2014.

Dr Jyotsna Batra was awarded an NHMRC Career Development Fellowship for her project entitled: “Exploring the role of miRSNPs in diagnosis and prognosis of prostate cancer”. This study will conjoin the well-established mechanism of miRNA regulation in the prostate cancer aetiology with the unexplored area of regulatory genetic variants in untranslated gene regions to yield clinically-relevant information. Dr Batra proposes to undertake an innovative approach by combining expertise in genetic, molecular and computational biology.

“Alongside increasing our understanding of cancer biology, these results will provide an impetus for future diagnostic genetic tests for cancer risk assessment and prevention management and would be first step towards miRNA-based pharmacogenomics,” Dr Batra explains. “These results will have applicability to other hormone-related cancers including ovarian, breast and colon cancers, through our collaborative research.”

Dr Nathalie Bock was awarded a Peter Doherty Australian Biomedical NHMRC Early Career Fellowship. Dr Bock’s project, “Using Bioengineered 3D Models to Replicate the Tumour Microenvironment in Prostate Cancer” will investigate the use of bioengineered 3D models to replicate the tumour microenvironment in prostate cancer and identify factors contributing to the establishment of secondary lesions (metastases).

“The bone microenvironment is a preferential site for metastases,” Dr Bock explains, “while bone cells themselves were often considered the key players, compelling new findings that link fat cells present in the bone marrow with disease progression gave rise to our hypothesis - that fat cells are a key contributor and therapeutic target in prostate cancer bone metastasis.

“I will use bioengineered scaffolds, made of synthetic biomaterials, and combine human bone cells with fat cells, to replicate the tumour microenvironment within the bone.”

With this approach, Dr Bock hopes to provide a ‘real life’ humanised model of tumour cells relocating to bone, which will help identifying the interactions between both cell types and the impact of fat cells on cancer cell function and bone metastasis.

October 2011 Newsletter

Welcome to the October newsletter for 2011. It’s packed with news and events to keep you up to date on all that’s happening at our busy centre.

Official TRI Launch

Construction of Translational Research Institute officially began yesterday at the Princess Alexandra Hospital.
Official TRI Launch

The TRI building site

The world-class facility brings together some of Queensland's best medical researchers from Queensland University of Technology, University of Queensland, Mater Medical Research Institute, and the Princess Alexandra Hospital.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh announced the official start of the project, and spoke of the significance of having research, testing, drug development, and drug production all under the one roof.

The TRI is set to open in 2012, and has received funding from the Australian Government, Queensland Government, The Atlantic Philanthropies, QUT and UQ.

APCRC-Q Open Day - Monday 30th January

To celebrate the Centre’s 3rd anniversary, Professor Colleen Nelson, Executive Director, APCRC-Q invites you to attend a welcome day to showcase the Centre’s clinical and translational activities.

The Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre–Queensland (APCRC-Q) is a disease-specific, consolidated  translational national prostate cancer research centre.

The APCRC-Q was established in January 2009 and is hosted by the Queensland University of Technology in partnership with the Princess Alexandra Hospital.

This is a great opportunity to learn about the Centre and meet our clinicians and scientists.

When: 10am – 3pm, Monday 30th January 2012

Where: Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre - Queensland

Level 1, Building 1, Princess Alexandra Hospital

199 Ipswich Road, Woolloongabba

To find us take the blue lifts to level 1 and the office is located across from the 1A Eye Clinic and next to Pathology

For more information please contact Melissa Raassina on 07 3176 1894

Light refreshments will be provided throughout the day.

Open Day Success

APCRC - Q celebrates 3 years!

On Monday 30 January, the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre - Queensland held an Open Day to celebrate it’s 3rd Birthday.

The centre was visited throughout the day by medical industry representatives, clinicians, research partners, Government officials, prostate cancer support group members and many more guests.

APCRC - Q’s dedicated researchers were on hand to discuss current research projects with guests.

The Open Day proved a great success, and was a wonderful way to celebrate our third anniversary.

As a joint initiative between Queensland University of Technology and the Princess Alexandra Hospital,    APCRC -  Q was officially opened by the Hon. Wayne Swan MP in early 2009.  Since then, the Centre has established  collaborative relationships with a wide range of partners, both nationally and internationally.

The Centre is currently assembled into a multidisciplinary framework that integrates research activities from discovery through to clinical trials.

Thank-you to everyone that attended our Open Day.

APCRC-Q joins TRI's Official Opening celebrations

The Governor-General, Her Excellency the Honourable Quentin Bryce AC CVO, officially opened Brisbane’s new biomedical research institute, Translational Research Institute (TRI), on Thursday 10 October 2013.

TRI is one of only a few facilities in the world to research, trial and manufacture breakthrough treatments all within the one location.  APCRC-Q researchers were among the first to move into the new facility in December last year.

The Institute is a joint venture between four leading research institutes -  the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute, the Queensland University of Technology's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Mater Research and the Princess Alexandra Hospital’s Centres for Health Research. A biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility has been co-located at TRI to enable the discovery, manufacture and testing of therapies and vaccines to improve and benefit the health of people world-wide.

Multi-disciplinary teams of doctors and researchers will work together at TRI to develop and test potential new treatments.

The opening of TRI marks a significant milestone in the history of medical research in Australia.

Watch APCRC-Q researchers talking about their experiences in the TRI Opening Video.

TRI building

PARSS and PCFA Funding Awarded to APCRC-Q Investigators

Four APCRC-Q researchers were recently awarded funding for their research in 2016

APCRC-Q Executive Director Professor Colleen Nelson received two awards from the Princess Alexandra Hospital Research Support Scheme (PARSS). A Men’s Health Spirit Group Grant of $50,000 for one year was awarded to fund a project entitled: “Investigating the biological response to stereotactic radiation in oligo metastatic prostate cancer in mouse intra-tibial human prostate cancer models”.

“In this project we will investigate how best to use targeted radiation therapy for metastatic prostate cancer,” explains Prof Nelson. “Through detailed analysis of a mouse bone metastasis model, we  hope to optimise conditions for the delivery of targeted radiation therapy to bone metastases. This will help to determine  factors that  affect  bone  remodelling  and  tumour  control  following  radiation therapy. Our results will be used to inform future clinical trial design which, in turn, could lead to improved long term cancer control for metastatic prostate cancer patients.”

Prof Nelson also received a PARSS NHMRC Near Miss Grant of $75,000 over one year for a project entitled: “Analysis of treatment response in metastatic prostate cancer using circulating tumour cells from longitudinal clinical trials and novel patent-derived organoids in culture”.

Prof Nelson said that new insights into prostate cancer progression and treatment response/resistance are needed to improve the management of advanced disease and cancer specific survival.

“In this project we will use circulating tumour cell analysis to potentially assess patient’s response/resistance to treaments over time.  This provides us with a minimally invasive “liquid biopsy” to analyse treatment responses, make better treatment choices and improving outcomes for patients with advanced prostate cancer,” said Prof Nelson.

DProf Judith Clements and Dr Nathalie Bock both received funding in the 2016 Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) grant round. DProf Clements was awarded a PCFA New Concept Grant of $99,732  over one year for her project entitled: “KLK14 as a novel therapeutic target in muscle wasting induced by androgen deprivation therapy”.

“In this project, we will investigate whether KLK14 will contribute to the process that leads to skeletal muscle wasting that occurs during androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) in men with advance prostate cancer,” explained DProf Clements. Results from this study could ultimately could lead to the use of KLK14 inhibition, in conjunction with ADT, to reverse this process and improved quality of life for men on ADT.”

Dr Bock received a PCFA John Mills Young Investigator Award of $98,561 over one year to fund her project entitled: “Establishing a 3D in vitro model to replicate the tumour microenvironment in advanced prostate cancer bone metastasis”.

“One significant consequence of the therapies used to treat metastatic prostate cancer is a change in body metabolism and an increase in their overall fat content,” said Dr Bock. “This fat accumulation also occurs in the bones where the metastases develop. Considering that in other cancers, the presence of fat increases cancer survival, this project will test the idea that the presence of increased fat in the bone is a key contributor to prostate cancer progression and hence a therapeutic target against bone metastasis. Ultimately, the results from this project will assist clinicians to select better therapies for prostate cancer metastasis” explained Dr Bock.

PhD Opportunity at APCRC-Q

Discovery of extracellular vesicle lipid biomarker for prostate cancer

Exosomes are membrane-based extracellular vesicles that are released by cells into body fluids, including urine and serum. Preliminary evidence from our team on phospholipid analysis of exosomes in serum reveals significant changes in lipid profiles in cancer patients compared to healthy individuals and that these patterns largely correlate with those detected in the primary tumour.

This project forms part of a larger global collaborative project with The University of Adelaide, Katholiek Universitat Leuven, Belgium, and Cardiff University, UK with funding through a PCFA Movember Revolutionary Team Award.

To express your interest in this opportunity please contact Dr Carolina Soekmadji via email including:

    • a cover letter
    • a Curriculum Vitae detailing your research experience and qualifications
    • transcripts

Further information available: