Happy new year!
Our first blog of 2021 is inspired by four small and local charities that are making a real impact on prostate cancer research and practice well beyond their size and locality. In a time of uncertainty and stretched resources, it’s organisations like these that make the difference in what’s available to both doctors and patients. We salute them and strongly advocate for their continued support.
The Prostate Project
Founded in 1998 by the inspiring and now legendary Colin Stokes MBE, the Prostate Project is based at the University of Surrey and the Royal Surrey Hospital NHS Trust. Stokes founded it along with the Urologist who treated him for prostate cancer, John Davies. Their mission was, and still is, to give men a better chance of beating prostate cancer.
Since its establishment the Prostate Project has raised over £10 million, and recently opened the Stokes Centre for Urology at the University of Surrey to undertake world-class research on diagnostics and treatments for prostate cancer. Currently 25 strong, the Prostate Project research team are producing results of international importance including the development of antibodies against targets on the surface of prostate cancers, the development of vaccines from the patient’s own immune cells and the use of a potential new marker (EN2) in urine to identify the presence of prostate cancer; the first breakthrough in diagnosis since the 30-year-old PSA blood test currently used to detect prostate cancer. They are currently investigating new techniques to identify and treat advanced prostate cancer using immunotherapy.
With its research draws on global resources and benefits the world, the Prostate Project keeps close ties to the Royal Surrey Hospital and to the local community in its fundraising and celebrates local artists through its annual Art Auction.
The Prostate Project
facebook: The Prostate Project
Prost8 is the newest of our small charities – established in 2018 by Paul Sayer, it is based in Southend-on-Sea and focused on making focal therapy and HIFU treatment available to all men whose prostate cancer diagnosis qualifies.
Paul recovered from prostate cancer without sacrificing his quality of life by having HIFU treatment – something he had to search for himself. Prost8 is founded on the principle, borne out of his own personal experience, that there are some “remarkable medical developments happening in prostate cancer right now and as a result 1000’s more men with prostate cancer can live longer and have better lifestyle outcomes” – but these are not made available to the vast majority of men. His mission is to provide many more men with earlier screening, better treatments and a much better life after treatment.
Established in 2006, PROSTaid is based in Wigston, Leicestershire and run by prostate cancer patients, families, friends and urological professionals to support men and their families in Leicestershire, Rutland and Northamptonshire.
Support is provided through several channels. Information and counselling is available to all men with prostate cancer and their families, and delivered by local men who themselves have or have had prostate cancer. Five support groups are actively run and have continued through the Covid pandemic via videolinks provided by the charity.
PROSTaid funds two specialist Prostate Cancer Specialist nurses, one diagnostically focused within the Urology Department at Leicester General Hospital, and the second based within the Oncology Department at The Leicester Royal Infirmary and focused on metastatic and palliative prostate cancer care. I also funds the development of cutting edge treatments not available on limited NHS budgets, in partnership with the University of Leicester and the John Van Geest Centre in Nottingham
One of its most visible services is to raise awareness and educate local men and local GPs about prostate cancer, and PROSTaid runs master classes for medical professionals early detection. It runs Awareness Days within local workplaces and among local men’s community groups, targeting high-risk groups including men of Afro-Caribbean heritage.
PROSTaid maintains an active and ambitious fundraising programme which draws local communities together through sport and adventurous pursuits, further reinforcing its impact on the region and serving as a model for other charities.
The Pelican Cancer Foundation
Based in Basingstoke, Pelican is committed to improving the lives of men with prostate cancer by funding innovative research projects that investigate precise treatments, such as focal therapy, that are highly effective and reduce the severity of side effects. Its focus is on developing precise diagnostic and treatment options that, where possible, enable men to retain their quality of life – preserving sexual, bowel and urinary function. Pelican believes that more precise detection and treatment options for prostate cancer should be made available for patients, and that funding for precise prostate cancer detection and treatment is a priority. It aims to enable better planning for precision treatment.
Pelican’s research projects challenge the prevailing assumption that all men need to have their whole gland and the surrounding structures treated, irrespective of the volume and location of their prostate cancer. It has been a significant contributor to research on focal therapy, a form of treatment that ablates only parts of the prostate considered affected by clinically significant cancer. Focal therapy ablates discrete areas of known cancer in the prostate and can offer men a treatment option to control disease while preserving maximal amounts of healthy tissue. It has supported four clinical trials at UCLH using High Intensity Ultrasound (HIFU) as a method of focal therapy.
While supporting world-class research, Pelican is firmly based in its local community and combines fundraising and cultural programmes through the Pelican Film Society which screens monthly films in Basingstoke.
The Pelican Cancer Foundation
facebook: Pelican Cancer Foundation
Keep an eye on these organisations, as they provide excellent and up-to-date sources of information and ongoing events. Share their links with your friends and colleagues, and, above all, please consider supporting them.