New research to determine low-risk from high-risk prostate cancer

Edmonton, AB – April 30, 2014 – Today Prostate Cancer Canada announced a national research funding initiative aimed at identifying prostate cancer patients who need to be treated aggressively and those who do not. Three major research teams in Edmonton, Toronto and Sherbrooke will receive close to $5 million for projects that will help prevent the overtreatment of prostate cancer. This funding is made possible due to the Movember Foundation.

“These grants will help to answer the question of who to treat and who to monitor,” says Rocco Rossi, President and CEO, Prostate Cancer Canada. “Within the decade men will have access to these tests and the knowledge they represent to make decisions that will maximize quality of life.”

“We know that thousands of Canadian men treated for prostate cancer live with significant side effects for many years, including incontinence and lack of sexual function. These three projects hold great potential to enable more men to safely avoid treatment, and in doing so, maximize their quality of life,” says Pete Bombaci, Country Director, Movember Canada. “Thanks to the committed efforts of our Mo Bros and Mo Sistas we are able to fund outstanding projects that will make an impact on the lives of men living with and beyond prostate cancer.”

The research projects, known as the Movember Translation Acceleration Grants (TAG), were awarded to teams at the University of Alberta, University of Toronto and l’Université de Sherbrooke whose work in this area was already showing great potential.

“We believe this research will play an important role during the diagnosis and follow-up for prostate cancer, says Dr. John Lewis, researcher, University of Alberta. “These tests could tell us if the patient is at high risk for developing aggressive metastatic disease or if that patient’s disease is in a benign state.
During the course of this grant we will translate new tests in two stages: the initial stage we hope to be available clinically within three years; a blood test will be available in 5-10 years.”

Adds Dr. Robert Day, researcher, l’Université de Sherbrooke, “We have identified new methods of obtaining a more precise diagnostic than ever before. We need to put this forth so that it is validated in a clinical context.”

“We want to develop a better clinical test using non-invasive methods that will distinguish up-front men with benign versus aggressive forms of disease,” says Dr. Bharati Bapat, researcher, Mount Sinai Hospital.  “For example, a urine-based test could eliminate the need for unnecessary, invasive biopsies.”

The researchers are:
  • John Lewis: Sojonky Chair in Prostate Cancer Research, University of Alberta, Edmonton
This research involves developing a simple blood test that can predict the onset of metastasis (spread of cancer) in those living with prostate cancer and better inform treatment decisions.
  • Bharati Bapat: Mount Sinai Hospital, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Toronto  
This project works to implement a simple biomarker-based test in the clinic, which will complement how prostate cancer is managed now and allow for accurate detection of aggressive prostate cancer.
  • Robert Day: L’Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke
This study will verify an enzyme-based diagnostic test that can tell if a cancer is low-risk or high-risk. This could result in earlier detection, which is potentially lifesaving, and for others it would represent a halt to unnecessary measures.

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For more information:
Elissa Freeman
416. 565. 5605
Holly Roy
Western Canada
Cell: 780.991.2323
Brigitte Filiatraut
Quebec/New Brunswick
Cell: 514-521-8216

About Prostate Cancer Canada

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer to affect Canadian men, impacting one in seven men over the course of their lifetime. Prostate Cancer Canada funds critical programs related to awareness and public education, advocacy, support of those affected, and research into the prevention, detection, treatment and cure of prostate cancer.  For more information visit and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
About Movember

Movember aims to forever change the face of men's health through the power of the moustache, by raising awareness and funds for prostate cancer, testicular cancer and men's mental health initiatives. Funds raised are directed to programs run directly by the Movember Foundation and our men's health partners in each country. Together, the channels work to ensure that Movember funds are supporting a broad range of innovative, world-class programs in line with our strategic goals; living with and beyond cancer, staying mentally healthy, living with and beyond mental

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