Guest Speaker Report for October 2018  Newsletter.

September Meeting

Cancer Council plays a very important role in providing information and support for cancer patients and in advocating for change on behalf of cancer patients. Today we welcomed Sue Russell and Associate Professor David Smith representing Cancer Council NSW.

Sue, who last visited in September 2015, is passionate about getting the message “ Saving Life 2019, A Cancer Free Future” campaign to State Governments attention. The campaign centres on ensuring authorities take positive steps to: reduce passive smoking, ban cigarette vending machines, remove junk food advertising from state owned property and fund public lymphoedema services. There is a great conflict of interests going on in the media ie. on the one hand promoting healthy diet and lifestyle and on the other promoting smoking, junk food and inactivity. Sue left us with a supply of cards to be signed by concerned individuals before submission to the Government. Take some a pass them around.!

Although David Smith is described as Senior Research Fellow he does not have a microscope or wears a white coat! His work revolves around Epidemiology which is the study of how, when and where the disease occurs and attempts to determine what risk factors are at play to cause disease and what protective factors may prevent disease.

Recent publications to which David contributed were discussed and included :

  • the Long term Psychological and Quality of Life effects of Active Surveillance and Watchful Waiting after diagnosis, ( one outcome was that more uniform definitions of what constitutes Active Surveillance and Watchful Waiting are needed since not all men receive the correct regime )
  • Adult body size, sexual history and adolescent sexual development as a predictor of risk of Prostate Cancer ( obesity, the journey through puberty and even adult height are shown to effect the risk of getting Prostate Cancer. Men over 6 feet have a significantly increased risk of advanced disease.) Best to stay small if you can !!
  • Another study on the use of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy failed to show significant benefits in reducing the distress caused by a diagnosis of advanced prostate cancer compared to usual patient care. However, this is not to discount the fact that many people find that Yoga, Meditation and Mindfulness to be of general benefit to wellbeing in other areas of their lives..The connection between Vitamin D and prostate cancer was also mentioned as an ongoing study with at least one member taking part. All of the above studies alongside all the medical research, trials and technical advances in diagnostic tools are responsible for the great improvement in survivorship from a diagnosis of prostate cancer that we have seen over recent years.. Thanks to David for a most interesting presentation.

    October Meeting.     Tuesday 9th October

    We have seen and discussed the first two parts of Professor Denhams “Survivorship” presentations which look at the experiences that both men and their partners reflect upon following their radiation therapy -10 years on.

    Today we will show 10 year Survivor Stories, Part 3 “ In Her Words”

    Di Wheeler has kindly offered to mediate and we hope that many of the wives or partners of members are able to attend.

    Internet access permitting we will also show Stephen Fry’s diagnosis announcement plus some interesting websites as recommended by Erica James

    Questions are always welcome and your participation encourages our guest speakers. You can ask in person, leave a note in the Suggestion Box or if you wish to contact a committee member to take a note of your question.

    Future Programme

    November: Presentation by Nancy Consoli, Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurse

    December:   Open at this stage

    Mike Seddon  :  On behalf of Guest Speakers.

    Mobile : 0419 599 230

    email[email protected]

    News of Jeff Nield

    You may recall that some months ago member Jeff Nield very kindly donated an up to date lap top computer and projector for use by our Guest Speakers. We are now advised that Jeff is not doing too well having had radiation treatment for a brain tumour. We wish Jeff all the best and sincerely hope he will be able to rejoin the group in the near future.

    HPSG Committee.


    29 March 2017

    Advances in Research and Treatment

    Read about the groundbreaking global research team Australian Prostate Cancer Research (APCR) has joined to crack the genomic code of prostate cancer, and about the dramatic leaps we have made in treating men with the disease since the 1980s.

    Cracking the Code

    APCR is joining an international team of leading scientists and clinicians to crack the prostate cancer code. The study will have unprecedented power to solve key issues for the management of men who have or who are at risk of developing prostate cancer.

    At the heart of everything we do at Australian Prostate Cancer Research are the patients. At the APCR Prostate Cancer Centre we are in the unique position to be able to diagnose and treat patients informed by the most recent research outcomes.

    We are now conducting groundbreaking research for the Pan Prostate Genetics Consortium. The ultimate goal is to decode the genetic makeup of prostate cancer by collecting, comparing and analysing data on an unprecedented global scale.

    The Consortium is an international collective of renowned prostate cancer scientists and researchers working together to sequence the prostate cancer tumours searching for genetic variations. For the first time, data from prostate cancer patients globally will be collected and analysed, including data from different ethnicities, different cancer stages, and cancer patients managed by different treatment types.

    Ultimately, this research will improve the outcomes of the disease in patients. We will be able to test and identify which tumours will turn into more dangerous cancers and need to be treated more aggressively from the outset, and optimise treatment for all patients based on their specific prostate cancer.

    Our team will conduct their research at Melbourne Bioinformatics, which houses sophisticated computers that work at extraordinary speeds mapping DNA. It will be the largest collection of genetic data on prostate cancer ever assembled and will be able to address how the genetics of prostate cancer influences the outcomes of the disease in patients.

    From Therapeutic Nihilism to a Cure – by Prof Tony Costello AM MD FRACS, Clinical Director, Prostate Cancer Centre

    Before the advent of penicillin and vaccinations, prognosis for patients with bacterial and viral diseases was often catastrophic. Similar groundbreaking discoveries in the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer are bringing us ever closer to a cure.

    Prior to 1980 prostate cancer patients faced horrific treatment options. The most common operation for prostate cancer was the removal of both testicles, and the most common medical treatment was the administration of Oestrogen with its horrible feminising side effects for men.

    Then came two great leaps forward in prostate cancer diagnosis and management: the development of the PSA test allowed a 9 year lead time from diagnosis to advanced disease, and Dr Patrick Walsh from Johns Hopkins pioneered a safe anatomical surgery for the operation of radical prostatectomy.

    Prostatectomy in the 1980s required a 21 day hospital stay, was often accompanied by a 5 litre blood loss, 50% likelihood of incontinence and a 100% certainty of erectile dysfunction. With the miraculous appearance of the Da Vinci robot assisted surgery, the operation was transformed. Patients now face a day stay surgery with an almost zero need for blood transfusions, 95% continence after surgery and a 40-50% chance of recovering their potency.

    After 2004, the development of taxane based chemotherapy showed a survival advantage beyond castration failure. We also now have hypothesised the concept of early metastatic disease (oligo or few metastases) where the metastases can be targeted with stereotactic radiation therapy or surgically removed avoiding the necessity for immediate hormone therapy.

    Most recently we have seen the introduction of theranostics, the coupling of therapy and diagnostics. Radioactive emitters can be sent directly to prostate cancer metastases and give a lethal radiation dose to the prostate cancer cells with little or no collateral tissue damage.

    Finally, the recent “moon shot for cancer initiative” in the United States may herald the arrival of a combination of immune therapeutics that has already shown to be successful in melanoma treatment. Our aim as treating doctors is to induce a state of prolonged cancer remission with occasional targeted therapeutic intervention.

    We have come a long way in our ability to look after most prevalent cancer in Australian men.





Further reading

From Lucas Heights to PeterMac, new prostate therapy is a game-changer

by Liam Mannix SMH 9 May 2018

Barry Elderfield was out of options and almost dead.

Prostate cancer had wormed its way into the 76- year-old’s bones, sprouting ugly tumours from his skeleton. He had exhausted all conventional treatments but one.

An experimental treatment, ignored by big pharma companies, was being trialled at Melbourne’s Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. It would involve material hot out of a nuclear reactor being shot straight into his veins.

Barry was a dead man anyway. He put his hand up. Almost two years later, he’s still kicking.

“It’s given me an extension of life I would not have got otherwise, no question,” he says. His voice is croaky from a dry throat – the only side effect so far. “That’s a pretty small price to pay for life.”

Mr Elderfield was part of a group of 30 men with treatment-resistant metastatic prostate cancer the treatment, known as LuPSMA, was trialled on. The proof-of-concept trial, the results of which are published today in Lancet Oncology, has been hailed as a game-changer. The best way to measure prostate cancer is a marker in the blood called PSA. The higher the level, the worse the cancer.

Of the 30 men, most saw that marker halve. Some reduced it to almost-undetectable levels.

Six patients who were on death’s door recovered so well treatment was stopped early.

The therapy is not a cure. The cancer will come back. But it is hoped it could significantly extend life.

“It’s very exciting,” says Associate Professor Arun Azad, who heads a prostate cancer therapy lab at Monash University and was not involved in the study.

“If it continues to show the very promising activity it has in this pilot, then it may well become part of the standard treatment options.”


Photo: Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

LuPSMA is made up of two molecules. Radioactive lutetium-177 is shipped straight from NSW’s 20-megawatt Lucas Heights nuclear reactor to Peter Mac, where chemists combine it with a molecule called PSMA-617, which is designed to bind to prostate cancer cells.

It is then pumped into the bloodstream, where the PSMA seeks and burrows into tumours. The attached radioactive molecule then poisons the tumour from the inside out.

Lutetium only has a tiny active range – about 1mm – meaning other cells aren’t damaged.

The success of the trial makes it all the more remarkable that LuPSMA has spent years sitting on a shelf.

The therapy was invented in Germany in 2015, but large-scale trials were never run. Big pharma, which fund most clinical trials, were put off because it uses radiation rather than drugs.

“It’s unique. It’s not a drug. Big pharma has traditionally not been in this space. They just don’t have the expertise in how to make and distribute radioactive medicines,” says Peter Mac

“But that’s rapidly changing, because big pharma have seen the results.”

Professor Hofman is now leading a 200-person national trial that will test the therapy against standard treatments. If it’s successful, LuPSMA could be available to patients within two to four years.

“It will wind down very slowly, unless patients like me try to make the community aware of what they are missing out on. And that’s the real tragedy here.”


Further reading:

Distinguised Gentleman’s Ride

WHEN – 30th September 2018

2NURFM’s and Newcastle’s own Todd Sergeant will be taking part this year with donations to PCFA. Sponsor Todd at the link below. ndraiser/toddsergeant224905



More Mo’s? More power. Ask the people in your community to get hairy with you. You’ll feel more comfortable rocking your Mo, and raise more funds in the process. It’s a win-win


Welcome new members:

Ross Woods

Kevin  Martin

We look forward to your attendance at the monthly meeting.

NOTE: HPCSG Editor is not a health professional and bears no responsibility to any claims held within any publications and articles mentioned. Please discuss and seek advice from your own preferred health professional regarding any information or interest found in any article