Two Queen’s University faculty members are among twelve researchers recognized for their contribution to prostate cancer research with grants funded by the Movember Foundation and selected by Prostate Cancer Canada.
Professor Christopher Mueller, of the Queen’s Cancer Research Institute and the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, has developed a blood test for prostate cancer and Professor Caroline Pukall is conducting a study of LGBTQ+ prostate cancer patients.
Dr. Mueller’s new test for breast cancer works by detecting tumour DNA circulating in the blood that is much more sensitive and specific than previous tests. Traditionally a breat cancer researcher, he chose to expand his area of study and developed a blood test for prostate cancer that was supported by funding from the Ride for Dad.
This funding will enable the development of a blood test capable of predicting whether a prostate cancer patient’s tumour is likely to progress and so better determine the most appropriate treatment options.
“With this blood test we can tell if the cancer is more likely to become aggressive, and can even detect if it is spreading” said Dr. Mueller, in a Queen’s release. “Ten to 20 per cent of men with prostate cancer will develop an aggressive form of the disease and if we can predict this early, we can tailor our treatment options. It’s essentially a crystal ball for doctors.”
Blood samples collected from patients across Canada are being used by Dr. Mueller and his team, along with clinical collaborator Dr. Robert Siemens (Department of Urology), to validate the blood test.
Dr. Caroline Pukall and her team are beginning the first inclusive and comprehensive study of LGBTQ+ prostate cancer patients. Information on psychosexual function, medical indicators and healthcare experiences are being collected through questionnaires and in-depth interviews.
“Although numerous papers in the cancer literature make a call to be inclusive in terms of the sexual and gender diversity of the population sampled, very few studies include those who identify as LGBTQ+,” said Dr. Pukall in a university release. “This study will fill a significant gap in the prostate cancer care literature, and it will have real-world implications for the care of LGBTQ+ cancer patients in Canada. There is strong potential for this study to provide unique information to LGBTQ+ prostate cancer patients and healthcare providers.”
More information can be found at the Prostate Cancer Canada website.