23 February 2016

Tuesday 23 February 2016, Sydney: Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) and the Movember Foundation have today announced funding towards two new clinical trials to address significant research questions that will potentially revolutionise the way prostate cancers are monitored and treated. These clinical trials involve the testing of a new scanning technique and the role of Vitamin D in preventing progression of prostate cancer.

The clinical trial team headed by Professor Howard Gurney from Macquarie University, will undertake a phase II randomised controlled trial of high dose Vitamin D on men with prostate cancer. This important trial aims to establish whether Vitamin D supplementation is safe, effective and whether it can prevent prostate cancer progression. If Vitamin D supplementation is found to prevent prostate cancer progression it will become the basis for a phase III trial.

The outcomes of this trial have the potential to reduce the anxiety of men with low- to intermediate-risk prostate cancer. It will allow them to take control of managing their cancer during clinical monitoring, improve perseverance of active surveillance and consequently reduce the uptake of unnecessary active treatment.

Associate Professor Michael Hofman and his team at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, will study the impact of PSMA PET/CT (prostate specific membrane antigen positron emission tomography/computed tomography) imaging in the management of prostate cancer. This new type of scan provides whole body images of prostate cancer spread.

Early experience suggests this new technology is of value in scanning for prostate cancer relapse. The trial will be undertaken at multiple centres around Australia and will compare PSMA- PET/CT to conventional imaging. If effective, this technique could result in significant changes to patient management.

Associate Professor Anthony Lowe says the opportunity for PCFA and the Movember Foundation to fund the two new trials is a very positive step.

"These are both very interesting trials with great potential to improve our knowledge about how to fight prostate cancer. We eagerly await the outcomes of these trials and wish Professors Hofman and Gurney the very best with their inspiring work," he said.

Paul Villanti, Executive Director of Programs at the Movember Foundation, highlighted the importance of funding clinical trials as a mechanism that provides immediate benefit to men with prostate cancer.

"We are now seeing great momentum in new tests and treatments that slow the progression of prostate cancer. The Movember Foundation is committed to strengthening our investment in clinical trials in Australia to build on this momentum,” he said. “It also enables Australian based trials to contribute to the global effort of reducing the pain and suffering from prostate cancer."

PCFA and the Movember Foundation continue to work collaboratively to support translational research. More than $53 million has been invested nationally into prostate cancer research since 2004.