Cancer currently accounts for approximately 30% of all deaths within Australia. The progression of a tumour from one that is localised at the initial or primary site of growth, such as the breast or prostate, to one that spreads to other sites within the body, a process known as metastasis, is a major cause of death amongst patients.
Although cancers that originate within the joints, muscle and bone are relatively rare, many common cancers such as breast, prostate, melanoma, lung, and kidney spread to the bone causing severe pain, fractures and even paralysis in some instances. In addition, therapies that are used to treat many cancers can negatively impact upon the musculoskeletal system such as loss of bone density (osteoporosis) and increased fracture risk, joint pain and stiffness, bone pain, muscle pain and muscle weakness all adding to a poor quality of life for the cancer patient.
The focus areas of the program are to better understand the biology and the key molecular determinants of cancer metastasis, especially as it relates to the bone; to identify novel therapeutics that can effectively target the metastatic cancer cell; and to investigate the pathways responsible for the negative impact of cancer therapeutics upon the musculoskeletal system.
This research focuses on:
- Identification of Novel Mediators of Metastasis
- The Impact of Anti-Cancer Therapeutics upon the Bone Microenvironment
- The role of Stress Pathways upon Anti-Cancer Therapeutic Resistance