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Get Involved

There are many ways to get involved with APCaRI. Join our team, support events in your community or donate to this important initiative.

  • Careers & Training

    APCaRI members are working on the many problems associated with prostate cancer. We need bold, innovative and curious people to be engaged and to focus their energies to solve these problems. We offer a variety of careers and training programs from volunteer to principal investigator to collaborator.
    View all current opportunities
  • Events

    APCaRI members are not just a group of stuffy scientists working in a laboratory. We take great pride being a part of community and fundraising events that help raise awareness about prostate cancer. From the Underwear Affair to the Motorcycle Ride for Dad to Movember Events, APCaRI members are there to talk with and ask questions.
    Upcoming events
  • Donate

    To make this all work, we need research dollars. Your kind donations help APCaRI to identify and test new biomarkers of prostate cancer, design and validate a new fluid biopsy test for prostate cancer diagnosis, purchase research tools and help train the next generation of scientists to carry forward the research ideas of today.
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Other ways to help?

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer to affect Canadian men. One in seven men will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime. Here are more ways to help change those statistics.

Physician in operating room

APCaRI and UofA researchers could help diagnose prostate cancer severity more accurately

Adam Kinnaird is co-leading new research to develop precision diagnostics that could predict which men are at risk of more aggressive prostate cancer, based on mutations in their genes. (Photo: Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry; taken pre-COVID-19)

Folio Magazine, Published April 13, 2021 By Keri Sweetman
Scientists at the University of Alberta are part of a new research project to develop innovative precision diagnostics that could predict which men with prostate cancer are at risk of developing an aggressive form of the disease.
The researchers will use germline sequencing (sequencing of the genes a person is born with) to determine which genetic mutations predispose men to aggressive prostate cancer.

“Even though two men may have localized prostate cancer, their cases can be quite different depending on what genes have mutated,” explained John Lewis, who holds the Frank and Carla Sojonky Chair in Prostate Cancer Research funded by Alberta Cancer Foundation and is one of the project leaders. “The project will look at the contribution of your genetics to your risk of having aggressive prostate cancer.”

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed internal cancer in men in Canada and worldwide. The Canadian Cancer Society estimates that more than 23,000 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer last year, representing 20 percent of all new cancer cases in men.

The vast majority of men with prostate cancer have a non-aggressive form of the disease, at least at the time of initial diagnosis. But even as recently as 15 years ago, most of these men underwent surgery or radiation, which came with significant side effects such as incontinence, erectile dysfunction, and bowel problems.
Today, most men diagnosed with prostate cancer are placed on “active surveillance,” where they are monitored with yearly prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests and biopsies to ensure their cancer has not progressed. When those yearly tests turn up evidence that the cancer is worsening, the patients are offered surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or other treatments.

“We know, based on old data, that at least 30 percent of men will progress to worse tumours while we’re watching them,” said project leader Adam Kinnaird, a urologic surgeon, assistant professor in the U of A’s Department of Surgery and a member of the Alberta Prostate Cancer Research Initiative. “Is there a way from the get-go, when you start a man on active surveillance, that you can determine if his cancer is more likely to progress and require treatment?”

That’s the goal of the project, which aims to use new technologies to decide sooner which men are likely to develop more aggressive and potentially deadly prostate cancer.
Some mutations associated with aggressive prostate cancer have already been identified but the team will look for more, using unique germline-sequencing software designed by the University of California, Los Angeles’s Paul Boutros, a world leader in prostate cancer sequencing and a collaborator on this project.

Blood samples from almost 1,500 men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer—including almost 300 from Edmonton—have been shipped to UCLA for sequencing over the next six months to a year. A seed grant from the U of A’s Precision Health Seed Fund Award will pay for the germline sequencing of the Edmonton samples, “allowing Edmonton to be part of an important multi-center and international project,” said Kinnaird. “This seed funding is critical because it allows us to take the first steps in the project,” he said.

Germline sequencing isn’t the only new precision strategy these scientists plan to use in their research.
In their larger research project, which has not yet been funded, they will focus on targeted biopsy, a new technique using multi-parametric MRI and ultrasound, to do more precise biopsies of hot spots in the prostate that are more likely to contain aggressive tumours. Kinnaird said funding from the University Hospital Foundation was recently used to purchase the first MRI/ultrasound fusion biopsy device for Edmonton.

Lewis said he is confident that once the larger project is funded and work begins on both germline sequencing and targeted biopsy, their research could change standard prostate cancer treatment within two or three years.
Lewis describes this scenario in the future: A man diagnosed with prostate cancer gives a blood sample, which is sequenced to look for germline mutations associated with aggressive cancer. Then, using the more accurate MRI/ultrasound targeted biopsy, doctors will be able to check his prostate for hot spots and predict more accurately whether he is likely to develop more aggressive cancer in the future.

“We want to improve outcomes,” said Lewis. “The goal would be, for men who go on active surveillance in Alberta, we want to have fewer failures.”

Find out more about the innovative precision health research happening at the U of A.

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