A very important aspect of our research into prostate cancer involves studying prostate cancer tissues.
Prostate tissue is frequently removed to help make a prostate cancer diagnosis and to help make decisions about the best treatment options for each man found to have the disease. Sometimes the whole prostate is removed as part of the treatment plan. This tissue is preserved and stored by the pathology service that makes the cancer diagnosis, usually for many years. Most men participating in our studies have been very generous and allowed us to access this material for further research. Many of the diagnostic laboratories that hold this material are supporting our research by providing this tumour tissue (that is left over from making the diagnosis) to our research program. In recent years our research team has worked very hard to communicate with pathology services and to collect the tumour tissue from across Australia that has been diagnosed in participants.
The laboratory based research team has also developed methods that now enable us to test this tumour tissue using new “high density” genomic platforms that have revolutionised cancer research. Our team can now examine the entire genome of a cancer in a single analysis using DNA extracted from these small amounts of tumour tissue and this work is advancing our understanding of what drives prostate cancer development and therefore what might prevent it.