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Otago Prostate Cancer Research Gets Funding

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Otago Prostate Cancer Research Gets Funding

Wellington, Aug 18 NZPA - A $30,000 grant will advance research efforts to develop a better prostate cancer screening test at Otago University.

The university received funding of $15,000 a year for two years from the Men's Health Trust New Zealand, helping a Masters student conduct laboratory research.

The project will determine if a proteins family called activins could be used as a new diagnostic test to more accurately detect prostate cancer.

The student will work alongside Elspeth Gold, a Health Research Council-funded research fellow, Professor Helen Nicholson and Professor Gail Risbridger of Monash University in Melbourne.

Dr Gold said the research project could lead to an improvement in the current prostate specific antigen (PSA) screening tests, with results distinguishing between latent and aggressive prostate cancer.

"Our preliminary studies indicate that increased activins may promote prostate cancer. We will determine the role of activins in the development of prostate disease and assess if circulating activins may be useful as a new diagnostic test that is superior to PSA."

The testing of blood for PSA has been widely used since 1990 as a screening test for prostate cancer, but questions remained in the medical community as to its effectiveness.

Dr Gold said the project had an international focus, so the student can spent time at the Australian national prostate cancer tissue bank at Monash University.

"There they will work with world experts, greatly enhancing the student's training, underpinning our international competitiveness, and contributing significantly to New Zealand-based prostate cancer research."


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