Harnessing androgen-mediated viral mimicry to improve immunotherapy in prostate cancer

Prostate Cancer

Lead Researcher: Assoc Prof Luke Selth  

Institution: Flinders University  

Funding: $444,186

Funding Duration: 2023-2024


Over the past decade, immunotherapies have revolutionised treatment for cancer types such as melanoma and lung cancer. But despite this proven success, these therapies have provided very little benefit for patients with prostate cancer. Unfortunately, metastatic prostate cancer remains incurable and kills more than 3,000 men in Australia every year.

Recent research has found that androgens (such as testosterone) can activate an important anti-cancer immune response in prostate cancer cells. This response allows prostate tumours to be more visible to the immune system, thus becoming more responsive to immunotherapy.

The research

In this project, Associate Professor Luke Selth and his team are testing an entirely new strategy to treat prostate cancer with the goal of making prostate cancer more responsive to immunotherapy.

By using androgens to activate an important anti-cancer immune response, the team aims to determine whether treatment of prostate tumours with androgens can make them more visible to the immune system. This will make the prostate cancer cells more responsive to cancer immunotherapy.

The Impact

If Professor Selth and his team are successful, this will transform the lives of men with prostate cancer through the development of better therapies, improving outcomes for those diagnosed with prostate cancer.

The subsequent application of an androgen/immunotherapy combination therapy could result in a shift in clinical practice by providing a completely new, and highly effective, treatment strategy.


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