Major donation boosts research into treatment of deadly form of prostate cancer


L to R Monash Dr Renea Taylor; founder of E.J. Whitten Foundation, Ted Whitten; Monash Professor Gail Risbridger; foreground, E.J.Whitten CEO, Nick Holland.

Monash University has received an AUD $600,000 donation from a leading prostate cancer awareness provider, the E.J. Whitten Foundation, to advance research into aggressive prostate cancer tumours with the aim of improving treatment and survival outcomes.

For men with the aggressive form of the disease, the chance of survival is low because they fail treatment. In Australia, an estimated 66 men a week die of prostate cancer.

Marking the start of men’s health week, with this donation, researchers are focused on understanding what makes a tumour aggressive in men with prostate cancer.

It is already known that men with a family history of prostate cancer who also carry the BRCA2 gene fault are at risk of developing a more aggressive form of the disease, and this is one group of men that will be studied.

Research is led by Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute’s (BDI) Professor Gail Risbridger and Dr Renea Taylor, in collaboration with clinicians from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto, Canada. 

E.J. Whitten CEO, Nick Holland, said the Foundation was extremely proud to continue its association with Monash University.

“This donation extends the Foundation’s contribution to Monash to over AUD $1.1 million during the term of the relationship and importantly provides support to the groundbreaking research the University is undertaking.”

“Aggressive prostate cancer can take a devastating toll on those men affected and their families. Through this donation, we are committed to improving treatment of the disease and ultimately survival rates.”

Monash BDI Professor Risbridger said the partnership with the E.J. Whitten Foundation brought together world leading Monash research with clinicians and patients in solving the puzzle of how to treat men with the more aggressive form of prostate cancer.

“This funding will assist us in understanding what makes a tumour lethal so that we can better tailor the treatment for those men, so their life can be extended.

“Our focus is on identifying the features of tumours that are aggressive, or going to become aggressive. This will allow us to understand how to stop the growth of cancerous tumours by testing them with new and emerging therapies,” Professor Risbridger said.

About the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute

Committed to making the discoveries that will relieve the future burden of disease, the newly established Biomedicine Discovery Institute at Monash University brings together more than 100 internationally-renowned research teams. Our researchers are supported by world-class technology and infrastructure and partner with industry, clinicians and researchers internationally to enhance lives through discovery.

About the EJ Whitten Foundation

The EJ Whitten Foundation continues the legacy of football legend Ted Whitten in promoting Prostate Cancer Awareness to men and the wider community. Ted Whitten Snr bravely gave a voice to his public battle with prostate cancer, sparking the push for greater awareness and recognition of Prostate Cancer symptoms and men’s health. He lost his battle with prostate cancer in 1995.

*Australian Institute of Health and Welfare