01 April 2015
It’s A Bloke Thing Foundation helps keep Brisbane research afloat
Critical prostate cancer research could be under threat with federal funding of the Australian Prostate Cancer Bio-Resource (APCB) set to end in June this year.
Queensland University of Technology's Distinguished Professor Judith Clements - who leads the cutting-edged (APCB) team, which is based at the Translational Research Institute (TRI) in Brisbane – said without national funding it would be impossible to continue to help underpin clinical trials and ongoing research nationally and be involved in international consortia, such as the PRACTICAL prostate cancer genetic association study.
Prof Clements said donations like today’s $200,000 contribution from the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and the It’s A Bloke Thing Foundation, were the only current funds available to keep the APCB viable.
The bio bank, 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 it’s an extremely critical phase as we need to gain more information on these men as to whether their disease has progressed or not – which is critical information required for and an integral part of the overall research into prostate cancer. We are at risk of losing everything we’ve worked towards, if we don’t receive ongoing funding,' Prof Clements explained.
"At the moment there's nothing in the federal mechanisms we can apply for so we are extremely grateful to philanthropic support that comes to us through the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, who has generously supported us for the past five years," says Prof Clements, who has been working in prostate cancer research for the past 20 years.
The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and It's A Bloke Thing Foundation's funding to the APCB will only help maintain the four Australian nodes until middle of this year.
Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia 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 has helped raise more than $1.2 million for prostate cancer research last year and is responsible for half of today's $200,000 donation," said Mr Hughes.
Mr Hughes said the IABT lunch raised more than $600,000 at last year's lunch and the PCFA committed to matching the amount dollar for dollar.
"We still have about $1million from this collaboration and will distribute these additional funds through the normal grant application process, with applications closing later this year," 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 is Australia’s most successful daytime fundraising event.
"We are extremely proud that our event will help the PCFA and beneficiaries like the Australian Prostate Cancer Bio-Resource continue their research programs.
"Prostate cancer accounts for 30% of all cancers diagnosed in Australian men every year and 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," said Mr Fitzgibbons.
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