Prostate Cancer Research Group research
About Professor Gail Risbridger
Professor Gail P Risbridger is an NH&MRC Senior Principal Research Fellow, a career academic and researcher who has spent over 30 years understanding the endocrinology of male reproductive tract organs, especially the testis and prostate gland. She is one of Australia's leading prostate cancer researchers, where her team is an internationally recognised research team of scientists and clinicians working on prostate cancer and Andrology related projects in particular for expertise in human tissue xenografting and use of tissue recombination to study stem cell interaction with the tumour micro-environment.
Central to this is the capacity to involve the participation of Urology and Pathology colleagues to access fresh human patient specimens with full pathology reporting at each critical step. This work is crucial to the translation of research findings and her laboratory is one of the few groups worldwide that have this expertise and capacity. They represent a commitment to leading & exemplifying excellence in research with a record of world class achievements in research, research translation, expertise, vision, supervision & mentoring.
Her academic and industry collaborations have built infrastructure and trained some of the workforce required to underpin the national research effort in Australian prostate cancer research, including a National tissue bank with Victorian State Government informatics support.
About Associate Professor Renea Taylor
Associate Professor Renea Taylor is not only a Monash University alumna, she has been an integral part of the Monash BDI prostate cancer research team for 15 years and co-leads the program with Professor Risbridger. She holds a teaching and research appointment in the Department of Physiology, and is the Deputy Head of the BDI Cancer Program. She holds a Mid-Career Fellowship from the Victorian Cancer Agency, and was named the Inaugural E.J. Whitten Fellow.
Renea graduated with a PhD in Reproductive Endocrinology in 2003 at Monash University and completed her postdoctoral training in Stem Cell Biology at the National Stem Cell Centre. She pursued her research interest in hormone-dependent cancer, specialising in prostate cancer. Her work focuses on dissecting appropriate cellular targets in cancer, including stem cells, and identifying novel therapeutic strategies to treat prostate cancer. Renea has established a translational approach to her research, developing and applying clinically relevant models to study prostate cancer in collaboration with her urology, pathology and oncology colleagues. More recently, her team has focused on elucidating the endocrine and metabolic changes that contribute to prostate cancer disease progression including fatty acid metabolism.
Renea takes great care and pride in educating our next generation of scientists in both undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the University and champions young women pursuing a career in science. She is committed to playing an active role in science communication and dedicates much of her time out of the lab attending support groups and speaking at public events to help raise awareness for prostate cancer in the community.
- Novel endocrine approaches to diagnosis & treatment of men with prostate cancer
- Giving prostate cancer enough rope with bipolar androgen therapy
- Up-front PSMA Alliance: Using Theranostics early to eradicate prostate cancer and developing novel strategies for PSMA-negative disease
- Eradicating metastatic prostate cancer through the systematic identification of synergistic drug combinations
- Resolving and translating communication within the prostate cancer microenvironment
- Transforming endocrine therapy for breast and prostate cancer
- A novel strategy for targeting castrate-resistant prostate cancer
- Novel targeting of therapy-resistant prostate cancer cells
- Dual targeting of the Androgen Receptor for Effective and Durable Control of Lethal Prostate Cancer
- Partnership to improve outcomes for patients with Prostate Cancer
- Targeting lethal prostate cancer in its infancy
- Inherited Pathogenic Mutations in Prostate Cancer: The Next Generation
Prostate cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed internal malignancy and a major cause of morbidity and death in Australian men, with more than 21,808 cases diagnosed annually. Most men are diagnosed with organ confined prostate cancer. Some patients have indolent tumours, while others progress to advanced, incurable disease. Castration resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) kills ~3,300 Australian men each year who fail all available treatments. Androgen deprivation therapy is initially effective for most men with advanced prostate cancer, but they eventually progress to CRPC, which is lethal.
Key challenges to the field are:
- Predicting the course of prostate cancer by identifying indolent from aggressive tumours in men with localised disease
- Identifying new treatments for patients with advanced prostate cancer who have exhausted and failed contemporary AR-directed therapies.
Our program is addressing these challenges by aiming to:
- Reliably stratify our patients with newly diagnosed disease
- Eradicate CRPC through systematic identification of new treatments using preclinical models that can be validated and tested in clinical trials.
Our approach relies on our expertise in obtaining clinical specimens to use for patient-derived models. We recently established the Melbourne Urology Research Alliance (MURAL) platform of preclinical models and have world class facilities to support our specific projects. We are leading contributors to national and international networks and collaborations, integrating and co-ordinating our outcomes worldwide.
Specifically, our program projects seek to improve diagnosis of localised prostate cancer by:
- Determining the origins of high risk disease, particularly neuroendocrine tumours
- Using sub pathologies (e.g. intraductal carcinoma of the prostate, IDC-P) to identify high risk patients and improve prognosis in both sporadic and familial prostate cancer.
Specifically, our program projects seek to test new treatments for CRPC including:
- Novel therapies targeting the androgen receptor
- Ribosome directed therapies
- Epigenome targeted therapies
- Therapies targeting DNA damage repair.
If successful, we will improve the accuracy of identifying patients with high risk localised disease that may in turn inform the design of upfront therapy trials. Also, we will identify novel treatments that can eradicate CRPC tumours in preclinical tests to guide new and ongoing clinical trials.
Our key focus areas:
1. Developing new preclinical models of prostate cancer
2. Preclinical testing of new treatments for prostate cancer
Preclinical testing of new treatments for prostate cancer (patient derived organoids)
Renea Taylor is paving the way for the development for better-targeted treatments for prostate cancer.
This ground-breaking research has the potential to take the guesswork out of future treatments.
3. Working in multidisciplinary consortia to exchange materials and ideas
Dr Luc Furic, Associate Professor Renea Taylor, Dr Mitchell Lawrence, Dr Melissa Papargiris, and Dr Stuart Ellem explain their research which aims
to understand the mechanisms that drive prostate cancer and the impact it will have.
We collaborate with many scientists and research organisations around the world. Click on the Professor Gail Risbridger map and the Associate Professor Renea Taylor map to see the details for each of these collaborators (dive into specific publications and outputs by clicking on the dots).
Student research projects
The Prostate Cancer Research Group offers a variety of Honours, Masters and PhD projects for students interested in joining our group. There are also a number of short term research opportunities available.
Please visit Professor Gail Risbridger's Supervisor Connect to explore the projects currently available in our Lab.