Fellowship grant awarded to medical oncologist Dr Kate Mahon | Chris O'Brien Lifehouse
 In Lifehouse News

Congratulations to Chris O’Brien Lifehouse medical oncologist Dr Kate Mahon, who has been awarded the 2018 Mundipharma ANZUP Uro-Oncology Clinical Research Fellowship grant. Kate is conducting research into blood tests that predict the way prostate cancer patients will respond to chemotherapy.

Collaborating with researchers around the world, including Canadian oncologist Dr Kim Chi, Kate has gained access to 1,200 blood samples. So far, results suggest biomarkers in the blood can help inform treatment decisions.

Over the past decade, several new drugs have been introduced into prostate cancer treatment, which have certainly helped patients live better and longer.  However, none of these drugs work in everybody. Most drugs work in only half to two-thirds of patients.

“Many patients are put on treatment regimes that may not affect their cancer at all. The side effects of many of these drugs are unpleasant so if we can find a way ahead of time to tell whether the drug will be effective, it will be of huge benefit to patients. Our goal is to provide personalised medicine which will give each individual patient the best possible chance.”

The grant will provide Dr Mahon’s team with the resources to run a feasibility study and, further down the track, clinical trials.

“This ongoing study looks at whether we can make actual treatment decisions based on the blood test. The feasibility study will help us get patients on the study and look at how quickly we can get blood results, so that we know it’s practicable in a clinical setting.”

Dr Mahon has been researching prostate cancer for a decade under the guidance of Professor Lisa Horvath. She hopes her current project will improve patients’ quality of life by reducing exposure to invasive and ineffective treatments.

“I’d like to thank Mundipharma and ANZUP for this generous grant and opportunity. It allows me to progress this research that I hope will provide enormous benefit to prostate cancer patients.”

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