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New ‘magic bullet’ prostate cancer therapy delivers promising results

Gabriella Rogers

Australian doctors are witnessing promising results of a new therapy for men with prostate cancer who’ve tried everything to stop their disease from spreading.


The treatment, known as theranostics, offers a more targeted way of mapping and killing cancer cells.

Pivotal to the emerging science is the German discovery of small molecules that are able to latch onto the surface of prostate cancer cells called prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) receptors.

“I call it a tsunami of change for prostate cancer,” Associate Professor Louise Emmett, a nuclear medicine specialist at Sydney’s St Vincent’s Public Hospital, said.

“It has completely changed the way we diagnose prostate cancer in a lot of men and now it’s changing the way we treat them at this very end stage of the disease.”

Boris Kogan, 76, exhausted all treatments, including chemotherapy, after the disease spread to his liver and lungs.

Mr Kogan was eligible for the trial and received injections of a radioactive agent called Lutetium 177, which is bound to a PSMA molecule. This allows it to seek and destroy prostate tumours.

Highly specific PET imaging then gives doctors a birds-eye view of the results.

Mr Kogan’s son-in-law Arthur said the tumours were “disappearing in front of our eyes, it was like science fiction”.

Doctors are equally impressed by the results.

“It’s like a magic bullet,” Dr Emmett said.

“It goes for the target and it stays there, concentrates there and kills those cells.

“Half of the men who get this treatment have a very good response.”

St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney and Melbourne’s Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre are collaborating on trials for the new therapy.

Dr Emmett and her colleagues recently published a review of the current evidence in the Journal of Medical Radiation Sciences.

She said a third of patients on the therapy will get a dry mouth, while some experience nausea.

Mr Kogan said he experienced no issues with the treatment, compared to the gruelling side-effects of chemotherapy.

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among men in the western world and it accounts for about 25 percent of all new male cancer cases in Australia.

Dr Emmett said the future of theranostics was bright and she was confident the technology could be used on patients with other cancers.

“We’d definitely be moving with this technology into other cancers, once we find the appropriate receptor,” Dr Emmett said.

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EJ Whitten Foundation announces new CEO Nick Holland

The EJ Whitten Foundation is proud to announce Nick Holland as our new CEO effective May 1, 2017.

Chairman Peter Burnett said, “we are extremely pleased to have someone of Nick’s calibre join the Foundation as our CEO. Nick brings with him a breadth of sports and professional expertise from his elite playing days with Hawthorn FC, governance, legal, business capability and integrity roles with the Australian Sports Commission and most recently his executive position at Athletics Australia”.

Nick successfully transitioned into a professional career in sports administration following his retirement from AFL in 2005. Most recently Nick has been the Legal Compliance, Governance and Integrity Manager at Athletics Australia and prior to this Manager, Sports Governance & Business Capability at the AIS (Australian Sports Commission). Nick said, “I have been involved with the Foundation and its men’s health awareness promotion for a long time. I am passionate about working with the EJWF team to be the leader in men’s health preventative promotion”.

Ted Whitten said, “I am delighted with Nicks appointment and look forward to working closely with him to take the Foundation to the next level as the leading provider of men’s health and prostate cancer awareness to inspire men and save lives”.

Originally from South Australia, Nick Holland is a former professional AFL player who played 179 games for Hawthorn between 1994 and 2005, serving as Vice Captain between 1999 and 2003. Nick’s connection to the Foundation stems back to his elite playing days and participation in the Legends game on several occasions. His professional credits include;

• Athletics Australia (Jan 2015 – present) – Manager, Legal Compliance, Governance, and Integrity
• Hawthorn Football Club (June 2012 – present) – Committee Member
• Australian Sports Commission (Jul 2013 – Jan 2016) – Manager, Sports Governance & Business Capability at the Australian Sports Commission
• Senior Lawyer, Holding Redlich and Sports lawyer 2007 – 2013

Nick completed the Business of Entertainment, Media and Sport course at Harvard Business School in 2015, is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD) and is a Monash University Law Graduate (2006).

The EJ Whitten Foundation (EJWF) was established in 1995 after the early passing of Mr. Football (Ted Whitten Senior) after his long and public battle with Prostate Cancer. The Foundation’s ambition is to be the leader of men’s health awareness, supporting prostate cancer. Our vision is, to inspire men to save lives. This year the Foundation is celebrating its 22-year anniversary and has played a key role in promoting men’s health with more than $11m raised to date. Our origins are rich in the Victorian landscape with the Foundation’s inspiration coming from the great Ted Whitten, who was one of the first high profile males to give a public voice to prostate cancer awareness. Since 1995 the Foundation has passionately raising funds for men’s health and prostate cancer awareness and research.

EJ Whitten Foundation – Legends Game

To all our many supporters and generous donors to the E.J. Whitten Foundation.

Today’s  report in the papers is specifically around the monies raised by Baker Smith Management and the Legends game.

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Origin of the Legends Game

In the era of State of Origin football EJ Whitten was well known for his great passion for interstate footy rivalry and Victorian Football achievements. His Legacy lives on with the birth of the Legends Game in 1996.

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Indigenous Health

Our work in Aboriginal Communities The Foundation continually strives to support men’s health in all communities. Every year Ted Whitten Junior presents the E.J. Whitten Medal to the “best on ground” in the Tiwi Islands Football League Grand Final. The medal celebrates the sporting achievements of the Tiwi Islands community, and raise awareness of men’s […]

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