Thanks to the amazing fundraising efforts of Smiling for Smiddy participants, Mater is exploring challenging new research directions—the ones with the greatest potential that often don’t get mainstream funding. This includes research into prostate cancer, which affects hundreds of thousands of Australians.
Prostate cancer—by the numbers
120 000 – Number of Australian men living with prostate cancer
267 000 – What the number is predicted to rise to by 2017
30 – Percentage of cancers in Australian men that are in the prostate
And finally, a more uplifting number:
92 – The percentage of men diagnosed with prostate cancer who are still alive after five years, one of the highest survival rates of all cancers. The Mater Research Prostate Cancer Team is committed to raising this number and lowering the others.
Mater Research Associate Professor John Hooper is one of the extraordinarily skilled professionals working on ways to reduce the devastating impact prostate cancer has on so many Australian men and their families.
“If diagnosed early, most men will have a positive outcome. But if the disease is in an advanced state or they have a recurrence, the outlook is usually grim,” explained Associate Professor Hooper.
“Sadly only about one-third of men with advanced prostate cancer are healthy enough to be offered, and benefit from, chemotherapy.”
“When prostate cancer spreads to the bone, it becomes incurable. Your bone marrow is where blood cells are produced and for some reason, prostate cancer cells love that environment. The prostate cancer cells take over the marrow and start to produce new bone. Prostate cancer is the only type of cancer where this happens and it is extremely painful.”
In a promising breakthrough, Mater researchers have discovered a cell receptor that appears to reduce the growth of tumours in the bone. Although in its early days, Associate Professor Hooper and his team are now collaborating with a Malaysian prostate cancer research group to further develop this promising research.
These incredible advances are made possible by your efforts through Smiling for Smiddy, with funds going directly to Mater Foundation. “The visionary support of the donors of Mater Foundation is absolutely essential for our research efforts. The support of Smiling for Smiddy enables us to take a multidisciplinary approach to tackling what can be a debilitating disease. It also permits us to take on the more challenging new research directions that have the greatest potential, but often don’t get funded by mainstream, less-risk averse organisations,” said Associate Professor Hooper.