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Research grant awarded to Professor Rob Newton

Wednesday, 09 December 2009


Recently, ECU’s Professor of Exercise and Sports Science and Director of the Vario Health Institute, Rob Newton, received more than $170, 000 from Abbott Australasia to explore the effect of exercise on prostate cancer treatment.

Previous research trials have looked at using exercise as a form of rehabilitation after treatment, however the Vario Health Institute is looking into the effects of immediately implementing exercise therapy when a patient undergoes treatment.

It is common practice for men with prostate cancer to receive androgen suppression treatment (AST), which basically stops testosterone from fuelling the growth of the cancer. This treatment is highly effective, however is accompanied by a number of adverse effects.

The side effects include fatigue, increased fat mass, reduced muscle mass and bone density. Due to this, the patients are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, type two diabetes, osteoporosis and sarcopenia (low muscle mass). This can affect the patient’s ability to perform daily activities, and as a result, quality of life can be reduced.

Research at the Vario Health Institute by Rob, Dr Daniel Galvao and associates indicates that exercise therapy can help to counteract these evident side effects.

Rob says the research is evidence that the benefits from resistance and cardiovascular training are a great compliment to androgen suppression therapies.

“It has the potential to reduce fat mass, increase muscle mass and maintain bone density,” Rob says.

“These benefits improve self esteem, allow them to perform daily activities with less fatigue, reduce their chances of developing chronic diseases and vulnerability to bone fractures,” he says.

The Vario Health Institute hopes to find that immediate intervention will greatly reduce AST side effects.

The study is planned to start early into 2010.

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