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Prostate Cancer UK, Movember and Scottish Government pump £500,000 into search for answers over killer disease

Press Release   •   Jun 27, 2015 00:01 BST

Prostate Cancer UK, The Movember Foundation and the Scottish Government have today (Friday 27 June) handed researchers at Dundee University a six figure sum to investigate unanswered questions surrounding prostate cancer, the most common cancer in men in Scotland.

Prostate Cancer UK and Movember are adding £275,000 to a £225,000 contribution from the Scottish Government’s Chief Scientist Office, creating a grand total of £500,000 being pumped into the exciting new project.

The money will be used to fund clinical research that is being carried out in patients for the first time. The researchers will be investigating ways to improve the diagnosis of aggressive prostate cancer and reduce the number of unnecessary biopsies, one of Prostate Cancer UK’s priority areas for research funding.

The announcement comes during Prostate Cancer UK’s new national campaign, ‘Men United v Prostate Cancer’, which uses the language of sport to engage men in the battle against the disease.

Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, Alex Neil MSP, said “Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and is predicted to be the most common cancer overall in the UK by 2030. Prostate cancers range from very slow-growing and potentially harmless to highly aggressive and life-threatening. More work needs to be done to identify how advanced a tumour is.

“I am therefore delighted that the Scottish Government and Prostate Cancer UK, through their partnership with The Movember Foundation, have been able to jointly fund the research announced today, with the work being undertaken at one of Scotland’s top universities. We can, and will, beat prostate cancer – and today’s announcement is another step towards this ultimate destination.”

Dr Iain Frame, Director of Research at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “Each year almost as many men are diagnosed with prostate cancer as women are diagnosed with breast cancer. But research into prostate cancer has suffered from a historic legacy of neglect, leaving tests and treatments trailing decades behind other common cancers - men are dying needlessly due to inadequate methods of testing for the disease. Through funding research projects of this nature we are determined to right this long-standing wrong. Thanks to the support of the Scottish Government and the Movember Foundation that is exactly what Prostate Cancer UK is determined to achieve with this project.”

Work on the five year £500,000 research project will be led by Mr Ghulam Nabi, from the University of Dundee’s School of Medicine. Mr Nabi’s project is to investigate whether MRI and ultrasound scans could be used to reduce the number of biopsies required to confirm a prostate cancer diagnosis, and to more readily identify the difference between aggressive and non-aggressive prostate cancers.

Mr Nabi said: “The current process for diagnosing prostate cancer involves several steps, each with their own built-in uncertainties. It is my hope that the work I am able to do with this funding will lead to more streamlined diagnoses, with fewer biopsies and the potential to tell the difference between aggressive and non-aggressive forms of prostate cancer.

“Small studies suggest that using a special type of MRI before a biopsy can help to achieve these aims. This funding allows me and my team to expand these studies into a large trial, with better comparison methods and more rigorous protocols. I am delighted to have been given this opportunity and thank Prostate Cancer UK, Movember and the Scottish Government for granting this fantastic opportunity to me and my team.”

Anyone with concerns about prostate cancer can call Prostate Cancer UK's confidential Helpline on 0800 074 8383 or visit www.prostatecanceruk.org. The helpline is free to landlines, staffed by specialist nurses, and open from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday, and 10am to 8pm on Wednesdays.

-ENDS-

NOTES TO EDITORS

About the research project announced today:

Over the past decade, there have been significant advances in the types of imaging used to detect prostate cancer - including combining information from two different imaging techniques to precisely locate the cancer within the prostate gland. 

In this project the scientists will test whether they can use information from MRI and ultrasound scans in men with suspected prostate cancer to:

  1. Reduce the number of biopsies needed to make a firm prostate cancer diagnosis
  2. Tell the difference between aggressive and non-aggressive prostate cancers, as the latter can be safely monitored and may not need radical treatment

There is good data from small studies that suggests using a special type of MRI before a biopsy, called multiparametric MRI, can help to achieve these aims. The researchers propose to expand these studies into a large trial, with better comparison methods and rigorous protocols. They hope that the evidence gained from this trial will speed up the process of passing the benefits of these advances to large numbers of men.

Men United v Prostate Cancer - The Facts:

  • Men United v Prostate Cancer is our call for men to join together in a movement against the common enemy of prostate cancer. The aim is to build a united front of men against this disease. We want to get the message out about the most common cancer in men, support men affected by it, and intensify the search for more reliable tests and treatments for the future.
  • Men are being asked to sign for Men United by visiting www.prostatecanceruk.org/menunited
  • The core audience is men over 45 who urgently need to know about this disease, and to do something about it. Men United is not exclusively for men. This is a movement for men, but women will be critical supporters and activists within it. However, the core idea is that men are very consciously facing their health and banding together to right a wrong.
  • Whether they've been diagnosed or are simply concerned about prostate cancer, men can find out about the disease at www.prostatecanceruk.org

About Prostate Cancer UK:

  • Prostate Cancer UK fights to help more men survive prostate cancer and enjoy a better quality of life. We support men and provide vital information. We find answers by funding research into causes and treatments. And we lead change, raising the profile of the disease and improving care. We believe that men deserve better.
  • Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in men in the UK. Over 40,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year. Every hour one man dies from prostate cancer. One in four black men will develop prostate cancer at some point in their lives.
  • Anyone with concerns about prostate cancer can call Prostate Cancer UK's specialist nurses on 0800 074 8383 or visit prostatecanceruk.org. The helpline is free to landlines, staffed by specialist nurses, and open from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday, and 10am - 8pm on Wednesdays.

About The Movember Foundation:

Movember is a global men's health charity which raises vital funds and awareness for the often ignored issues of men's health, specifically prostate cancer, testicular cancer and men's mental health. It is responsible for the sprouting of millions of moustaches around the world in November when men become walking talking billboards for men's health. Mo Bros start the month clean-shaven, and then grow and groom their moustache all month long.

Funds are directed to men's health programmes which are shaped by Movember's vision to have an everlasting impact on the face of men's health. Programme areas focus on awareness and education, living with and beyond cancer, staying mentally healthy and research. Programmes are delivered by the Movember Foundation and its men's health partners in each country. Further information about how Movember's funds are invested can be found at Movember.com.

The Movember journey began in 2003 with a few mates in a pub in Melbourne, Australia. The goal was simple - to create a campaign promoting the growth of the moustache among like-minded people and have fun along the way. It is about real men growing real moustaches, talking about real issues to help change the face of men's health. 

Movember now spans the globe across 21 countries. Since inception, a global army of over 4 million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas have grown, or supported the growth of a moustache. To date more than £340 million has been raised globally and 577 men's health projects are being funded.

For more information about Movember and to get involved Movember.com.