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Funding awarded to tackle prostate cancer

Thursday, 03 November 2011


  • Director of ECU's Health and Wellness Institute, Associate Professor Daniel Galvão

    Director of ECU's Health and Wellness Institute, Associate Professor Daniel Galvão

Researchers have been awarded nearly $400,000 to investigate how physical exercise can help in the treatment of advanced prostate cancer.

Foundation Professor of Exercise and Sports Science, Rob Newton, and Director of ECU's Health and Wellness Institute, Associate Professor Daniel Galvão, received the prestigious category one grant of $400,000 over two years from the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA).

Professor Newton said the funding was recognition of ECU’s leading research into the area of exercise as medicine.

“Exercise is now well established as a medicine for the prevention and management of prostate cancer. Research has already proven that if three of more hours of vigorous exercise are performed per week the incidence of the advanced forms of prostate cancer is 70 per cent lower in older men,” he said.

As part of this PCFA grant Professor Robert Newton has been awarded $70,000 for equipment. This funding is being used to purchase Actigraph Physical Activity Monitoring devices which are considered to be the gold standard for the measurement of physical activity.

The Actigraph Activity Monitory System is a valuable research tool used to evaluate the effectiveness of programs designed to increase physical activity in prostate cancer patients. The monitor takes physical activity measurements such as activity counts, energy expenditure, steps taken and activity intensity levels which translate into key research indicators.

Associate Professor Galvão received funding to research the efficacy and safety of a modular exercise program based on the location or extent of bone cancer lesion, which is a new way of treating prostate cancer patients with bone metastases (when the cancer has spread to patients bones).

If cancer has spread from the prostate to the bones, patients have traditionally been excluded from exercise programs as their bones are considered to be too fragile. But this can result in patients developing significant physical impairments from prior and continuing hormone treatment that is increased by subsequent and more intensive interventions such as chemotherapy.

Associate Professor Galvão’s project will determine the safety and efficacy of a tailored exercise program in prostate cancer patients with bone metastases, with the aim of enabling this group of patients to safely access the medical benefits of physical activity.

Health and Wellness Institute Postdoctoral research fellows: Dr Prue Cormie, Dr Michael Baker and Dr Carolyn Peddle-McIntyre are co-investigators in the successful grant.

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