Peter Mac is the joint winner of the prestigious 2021 Australian Clinical Trials Alliance Trial of the Year Award.

The Study Team took out the honour for the proPSMA Study which found that a new molecular imaging technique is more accurate than conventional medical imaging, and recommends the scans be introduced into routine clinical practice.

The Award recognises a large team involved in the study. This features Professor Scott Williams who was the Peter Mac Primary Investigator and instrumental in the conception of the study – having previously run a randomised trial of flurocholine PET in prostate cancer that formed the basis of the proPSMA study. Study managers from the Centre for Biostatistics and Clinical Trials (BaCT) included Biostatistician Emma Link and BaCT Director Alison Hall.

Study chair, Professor Michael Hofman, accepted the Trial of the Year Award at a ceremony at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre on Thursday evening. 

“Winning Trial of the Year is an incredible honour for our team and testament to the world-leading research being undertaken by the team at Peter Mac and around Australia,” Professor Hofman said.

“The ProPSMA study is a game-changer and demonstrates how this new technology  improves outcomes for men with prostate cancer, by helping doctors decide whether to offer a localised treatment, such as surgery or radiotherapy, or to use more advanced treatments to treat the whole body if the cancer has already spread.”

During the trial, 300 men with newly diagnosed prostate cancer participated across ten sites. 

Each participant had a whole-body 3D scan using a radioactive substance that binds to a molecule - called prostate specific membrane antigen (PSMA) - found on the surface of prostate cancer cells. 

This was then followed by a PET/CT scan that produced detailed images of the cancer spread. 

The trial team found that PSMA PET/CT had an accuracy of 92% compared to 65% accuracy achieved with conventional imaging. The ProPSMA study has led to an application for funding of this technology by Medicare in Australia, currently being evaluated.

Peter Mac has pioneered this technique globally, performing the first PSMA PET scan in 2014, and using this to support a new “theranostic” treatment for prostate cancer in 2015.

Theranostic treatment for prostate cancer involves targeting PSMA – first with a radioactive molecule to reveal the cancer’s spread via a PET scan and then with a more potent radioactive molecule that can kill cancer cells.

Peter Mac was joint winner of the 2021 Australian Clinical Trials Alliance Trial of the Year Award with the Centre for Clinical Research in Emergency Medicine at Royal Perth Hospital’s Pneumothorax clinical trial.

ProPSMA was funded by a clinical trials grant from the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and Movember. It was supported by two co-operative groups, the Australasian Radiopharmaceutical Trials Network (ArtNET) and the ANZUP Cancer Trials Group.

Find out more about ProsTIC and the ProPSMA trial.