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Peter Mac clinician researcher Dr James Buteau wins Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) Young Investigator Award

22 November 2023

James Buteau V2

Peter Mac clinician researcher Dr James Buteau has been awarded the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) Young Investigator Award for first-in-field clinical trials aiming to improve patient survival and early detection of cancer.

Dr Buteau’s research focuses on a protein called Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA), which is expressed on the surface of prostate cancer cells. PSMA radioligand therapy - a highly targeted type of liquid radiation - and diagnostic imaging has revolutionised the landscape of prostate cancer treatment in recent years.

In this project, Dr Buteau and the ProsTIC team at Peter Mac will investigate the potential for new PSMA therapy and imaging applications at both ends of the disease timeline. If successful, these trials will demonstrate the ability for PSMA imaging to detect prostate cancer earlier, as well as determine whether a novel PSMA-targeted therapy is safe and effective in patients with advanced metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC).

“I am thrilled to be among the 2023 recipients for the PCF Young Investigator Award as part of a brilliant team at Peter Mac,” Dr Buteau said.

“There is a need for improved therapeutic approaches for patients with advanced mCRPC, whilst on the other extreme, there is a need to accurately identify clinically significant prostate cancer in individuals presenting with elevated PSA levels although MRI appears normal.

“We will look to address both these unmet needs in this project.”

The first part of this project involves a phase I/II clinical trial (VIOLET; NCT05521412) that will test a new PSMA-targeted radioligand therapy, 161-Terbium-PSMA-I&T, in patients with progressive mCRPC. Terbium-161 has shown superior in-vitro and in-vivo results in comparison with the currently used Lutetium-177, especially for delivering lethal radiation to micrometastases.

In parallel, a randomized phase III clinical trial (PRIMARY2; NCT05154162) will determine whether the addition of PSMA PET/CT prior to diagnostic prostate biopsy could improve earlier diagnosis of clinically significant prostate cancer, improve biopsy targeting, and help patients without clinically significant prostate cancer to avoid unnecessary biopsies.

The PCF Young Investigator Awards offer career and project support for young proven investigators to build a cohort of future research leaders who will keep the field of prostate cancer research vibrant with new ideas.