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Cancer crusaders recognised

Thursday, 19 April 2018

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Edith Cowan University research projects using exercise to improve cancer treatments in prostate, breast and bone cancers were among those to receive funding from the Cancer Council WA.

In total, six Edith Cowan University projects received grants worth $345,924.

Can exercise slow tumour growth and extend survival?

Dr Nicolas Hart from ECU’s Exercise Medicine Research Institute (EMRI) received a $225,000 Postdoctoral Research Fellowship to examine if a supervised exercise program can slow the growth of tumours in patients whose cancer had spread to their bones.

“Presently advanced cancer patients have few effective treatments available and once the cancer has spread to their bones the disease becomes incurable,” he said.

“As well as investigating whether exercise can help slow the growth of tumours in these patients, we will also examine if exercise can increase the effectiveness of therapies delivered through the blood stream, such as chemotherapy, thereby allowing larger amounts of chemotherapy to reach the tumour and increase survival – the ultimate aim of cancer treatments.”

A role for ‘prehabilitation’

ECU EMRI researcher Dr Favil Singh received a $35,000 Early Career Investigator Grant to examine efficacy of prescribing patients an exercise program before they undergo surgery for prostate cancer.

“We know that exercising before surgery can counteract some of the adverse effects associated with prostate cancer surgery,” Dr Singh said.

“The study will evaluate whether exercising in a supervised program in an exercise clinic or a prescribed home-based program provides better outcomes for patients.”

Career recognition

EMRI Research Professor Rob Newton received the Cancer Council Western Australia Cancer Research Career Achievement Award.

His research has demonstrated that exercise can have a significantly beneficial impact in reducing the long-term health problems caused by cancer and its treatments.

Professor Newton collaborated with Genesis Cancer Care in Joondalup to establish a world first exercise clinic to be co-located with an oncology suite.

His research has driven major changes in clinical practice and his findings have been incorporated into national and international guidelines for the prescription of exercise medicine in cancer management.

Additional funding

  • School of Medical and Health Science (SMHS) PhD candidate Aaron Beasley received a $30,000 PhD Top Up Scholarship to continue the development of a blood test to identify high risk patients diagnosed with ocular melanoma.
  • EMRI researcher Dr Travis Cruikshank and collaborators from Fiona Stanley Hospital, the University of Western Australia, University of Sydney and German Sports Institute, received a $49,996 Collaborative Cancer Grant to investigate if exercise can counteract the cognitive decline associated with treatment for breast cancer.
  • SMHS students Daniel Walker and Andre Vieira both received $3000 Student Vacation Research Scholarships for projects that will assist in the development of a blood test to detect and monitor melanoma.

Visit the Research webpage for more information about ECU’s world leading research.

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