Prostate Cancer Research in Action | Chris O'Brien Lifehouse

Prostate Cancer

Research in Action

George and his wife Connie had plans for retirement. They would travel the world and visit their daughter in London. George would try and perfect his golf swing, and relax after forty-five years of working as a correctional officer.

Until three words changed George Reed’s life forever: inoperable, incurable, terminal.

He’d had some minor bladder issues for a while, but after an evening of excruciating pain, he went to see his doctor. A few weeks later he was told that he had prostate cancer and would probably be dead within eighteen months.

“I thought I would have more time. That it would never happen to me. Until one day it did.”

A Second Opinion & New Research

When he was shown the scans from his first urologist, there was no explanation. Black spots and blotches were scattered across his skeletal form. It wasn’t until a few months later that George sought a second opinion with Professor Lisa Horvath at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse.

At his first appointment, Professor Horvath pointed out the dark blotches and empty spaces that no one had explained to him before.

“That area’s not cancer,” she said. “You’re only early stage four. I think I can give you some more time.”

Those words meant hope to Connie and George, and soon after that George was placed on a chemotherapy drug called docetaxel.

“I started with docetaxel and the side effects were horrific – swollen fingers and feet, nausea, aches and pains – but it worked. My tumours shrunk.”

Many people aren’t as fortunate as George. Docetaxel can ravage the body but then have no effect on the tumour. For these patients, worse than having no effect, this also delays the start of other therapies that could stunt the growth of the cancer and prolong life.

Professor Horvath and her team have been working on a personalised blood test that can detect the effect this specific chemotherapy drug (docetaxel) has on a person and their cancer.

This research was only made possible because of supporters like you.

Donor Support Makes Cancer Research Possible

With only 11-13% of all research getting government funding in Australia, most researchers rely on additional funding, which isn’t possible without generous donations from supporters like you.

In 2019, we were able to raise enough funding to enable Professor Lisa Horvath to continue her clinical trial to identify whether docetaxel will work on an individual’s tumour before treatment.

For George, the weariness and pain caused by the treatment surfaces regularly as a reminder. But he is incredibly thankful for the precious extra time he has been given to spend with his wife and family.

Our donors and supporters helped make this research possible, and, together with our researchers and clinicians, are helping to not only improve treatments for prostate cancer, but ALL cancer.

Learn more about the other research being conducted at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse.

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