Garvan Institute of Medical Research (NSW)

Professor Peter Croucher

Professor Peter Croucher is a bone biologist and cancer researcher. Peter did his PhD in Cardiff and then postdoctoral training at the University of Cambridge and the University of Sheffield in the UK. He relocated to the University of Oxford’s Institute of Musculoskeletal Sciences as a Senior Research Fellow in 2001, returning to the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Sheffield in 2003 as Professor of Bone Biology. In 2009 Peter formed and led the new Department of Human Metabolism and became the inaugural co-Director of the Mellanby Centre for Bone Research. In 2011, Peter moved to the Garvan Institute to lead the Bone Biology Program. At the Garvan, Peter has held a number of leadership positions, including being the Institutes Deputy Director and is currently Director of the Cancer Plasticity and Dormancy Program.

Peter has a longstanding interest in cancers that develop in the skeleton such as multiple myeloma, breast and prostate cancer and in bone diseases such as osteoporosis. His research has identified some of the critical molecular pathways responsible for the development of bone disease in myeloma. This included the discovery that the bone-active drug zoledronic acid could prevent multiple myeloma cells from causing bone disease. This discovery laid the foundation for a large clinical trial that showed not only that zoledronic acid could halt bone destruction in multiple myeloma, but significantly improve cancer survival. Zoledronic acid is now part of the global standard of care for the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma.

Peter’s current research is focused on understanding the how cancers grow in the skeleton and cause disease relapse. With colleagues at the Garvan Institute he has developed technology to investigate how myeloma cells ‘hide’ in a long-term dormant state in the skeleton and escape immune surveillance. He has discovered that bone cells are critical to retaining cells in a dormant state and also waking them up to contribute to disease relapse.

Peter has chaired the Cancer and Bone Society (2011-2016) and been President of the Australia and New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society. He has led a number of international research consortia, including ProMis (PROstate Cancer MetastasIS) and the Wellcome Trust-funded Origins of Bone & Cartilage Disease program. In 2022 Peter was awarded an NHMRC L3 Investigator Award and was a recent recipient of the International Medal from the Society of Endocrinology (UK). In 2023 Peter was recipient of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research Lawrence G. Raisz award.

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