A/Prof Jyotsna Batra’s Research into Prostate Cancer
This week, we take a look at a presentation put together by our Researcher of the Year Jyotsna Batra on her work in prostate cancer
Jyotsna’s research is very collaborative. These people represent just some of the people involved.
Jyotsna works on prostate cancer, the most common cancer for men in Australia.
Diagnosis of prostate cancer is currently neither very easy, nor even reliable. It involves either a blood test (PSA test – gives some false positives and some false negatives), digital rectal examination, which is no one’s favourite procedure, or, perhaps, surgical intervention.
We need to do better. We need:
· Tests that will detect the cancer early
· Tests that will discriminate the bad/aggressive cancers from the more slowly growing ones
· Treatment that is less invasive with less unwanted side effects & tailored to the disease type
Jyotsna says that cancer research is like putting together the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle:
We know that prostate cancer has >40% genetic component, but there are suggestions that environment as well as genetic background may play a role in the development of this disease. Part of Jyotsna’s work involves comparing the genetic makeup of men with prostate cancer with those who do not have the disease. Tissue samples, blood samples and information on clinical progression of the disease have been collected and compared.
So far, more than 150 ‘risk loci’ (particular places on a gene) have been identified through studies of the genes of people with prostate cancer. This can explain why some men (up to 33% of the men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer) might have inherited a pre-disposition for prostate cancer.
As an immediate measure, it has been suggested that targeted screening for men known to have high risk because they have a number of these genetic variations, and less screening of men without them, could reduce the problem of overdiagnosis and lead to a better benefit-to-harm balance in screening for prostate cancer.
In the meantime, Jyotsna suggests that prostate cancer awareness is a critical part of prostate cancer research……
One more thing...
With your help, we can continue to fund early-career researchers, like A/Prof Jyostna Batra, who are working across ALL cancers and ALL areas of cancer research.