Monday, 15 May 2017

Monash Health recruits first patient in Australia to prostate cancer clinical trial

Associate Professor Arun Azad
The first Australian to be recruited to a new prostate cancer clinical trial is a Monash Health patient.

Led by Associate Professor Arun Azad, Head of Medical Oncology Clinical Trials at the Monash Health Translation Precinct (MHTP), the PROfound trial examines the benefit of a new drug, olaparib, that targets the PARP gene (a gene involved in repairing DNA) in advanced prostate cancer.

“PARP inhibitors work by inhibiting a key DNA damage repair pathway in prostate cancer cells,” Associate Professor Azad said.

“Approximately 20% of advanced prostate cancer patients harbour a DNA repair gene mutation that makes them very sensitive to the effects of PARP inhibitors.”

The same mutations can be present in breast and ovarian cancer, for which olaparib is already approved and in the clinic.

“We know that advanced prostate cancer patients with a DNA repair gene mutation have really bad outcomes,” Associate Professor Azad said.

“However, the use of PARP inhibitors allows us to take advantage of these mutations for the benefit of patients. We hope that these drugs will eventually become available in the clinic for advanced prostate cancer patients, pending the success of trials such as PROfound.”

The PROfound clinical trial is being conducted at the state-of-the-art Clinical Trial Centre at the Monash Health Translation Precinct.   

Associate Professor Azad is a Senior Research Fellow at Monash University and Consultant Medical Oncologist at Monash Health.

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