Prostate Cancer Research Centre

The Prostate Cancer Research Centre capitalises on the drug discovery and development work performed in the department in the preceding years by Drs Corcoran and Hovens and Professor Costello that led to the filing of international patents and the formation of the drug development company Velacor Therapeutics. This spin-off company is taking the advanced lead compound, Se015, through phase I and II clinical trials in castrate-resistant prostate cancer patients.

We have worked closely with the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre at Epworth Richmond to delve into the genetic changes that underlie prostate cancer. Work has commenced on the analysis of human tumour samples to develop molecular profiles of different stages and types of the disease in the hope that clinically useful biomarkers of prostate cancer aggression may be identified.

Current research projects

  • Prostate Cancer Research Centre
  • Se015 - a drug candidate for combination therapy of prostate cancer
  • Synergistic studies of Se015 in combination with androgen deprivation therapy in advanced pre-clinical models of androgen-dependent prostate cancer
  • Synergistic studies of Se015 in combination with docetaxel in advanced pre-clinical models of hormone-refractory prostate cancer
  • Se015 as a radiosensitisingagent in advanced pre-clinical models of androgen-dependent and hormone-refractory prostate cancer
  • Dose optimisation studies of Se015 in orthotopic models of hormone-refractory prostate cancer
  • Optimisation of cellular signalling pathway readouts for identification of advanced lead compounds for prostate cancer drug development
  • Circulating endothelial cells as prognostic markers of prostate cancer and treatment response in orthotopic models of androgendependent and hormone-refractory prostate cancer
  • Evaluation of Aurora-A kinase, retinoblastoma, phosphor-Akt and p53 expression status as prognostic markers of bladder cancer progression in archived paraffin-embedded tissue
  • Circulating endothelial cells as prognostic markers of prostate cancer and treatment response in serum and plasma of prostate cancer patients
  • Expression status of VEGFR1 positive bone marrow-derived cells in prostate cancer and lymph node as prognostic markers of metastatic spread in prostate cancer patients
  • Neo-adjuvant study of androgen-deprivation therapy and chemotherapy in hormone-refractory prostate cancer patients with concurrent determination of gene expression profiles in prostate cancer specimens before and after neoadjuvant treatment
  • Comparison of inflammatory biomarker levels following open radical and robotic radical prostatectomy in serum and plasma
  • Prospective comparison of the immunohistological response following robotic-assisted and open retropubic prostatectomy for organ-confined prostate carcinoma
  • Correlation between plasma levels of endothelial cells and prostate cancer prognostic factors
  • Integrative genomics in prostate cancer: Defining the lethal phenotype
  • Development of an online psychological intervention for men with prostate cancer

Urology Unit

  • Prognostic significance of Aurora, pRb, p53 and Akt in bladder cancer
  • Use of biosensors in the detection of bladder cancer
  • Investigation of the use of Ca-channel blockers in the treatment of prostate cancer
  • A contemporary series of radical prostatectomies in the PSA era by a single surgeon
  • Development and evaluation of a cognitively oriented group program for prostate cancer patients
  • A Phase 3, Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Abiraterone Acetate (CB7630) Plus Prednisolone in Patients with Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer (CRPC) Who Have Failed Docetaxel-Based Chemotherapy (Protocol Number:  COU-AA-301)
  • A Phase 3, Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Abiraterone Acetate (CB7630) Plus Prednisone in Asymptomatic or Mildly Symptomatic Patients with Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer (COU-AA-302)
  • Development of an online psychological intervention for men with prostate cancer

Funding sources

  • Cybec Foundation
  • Melbourne Urology Trust (now Prostate Cancer Research Fund)
  • Melbourne Ventures
  • Cougar Pharmaceuticals
  • NHMRC
  • Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
  • Timbercorp
  • Urogene
  • Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia
  • BeyondBlue

We are actively involved with both clinical and basic scientific research. It provides excellent training opportunities for urologists and specialist nurses and has a world-renowned Fellowship Program for advanced trainees under the Directorship of Prof Anthony Costello and A/Prof Declan Murphy.