World Cancer Day: Together we can beat Cancer

FEBRUARY 3, 2016

To mark World Cancer Day (Thursday, 4 February), the Movember Foundation is encouraging collaboration in cancer research to enable ground-breaking discoveries and help millions of men living with cancer worldwide.

As the largest non-government investor in prostate cancer research globally, the Foundation also announced it is funding the world’s first randomised controlled clinical trial to examine the effect of exercise on overall survival and quality of life for men with prostate cancer.

The trial, part of the Foundation’s Global Action Plan (GAP4), will investigate the potential of exercise to improve overall survival, quality of life and symptom severity in men with advanced prostate cancer. The project highlights the Movember Foundation’s commitment to facilitating collaboration in research to avoid duplication and accelerate outcomes for men around the world.

Paul Villanti, Executive Director of Programs for the Movember Foundation, said the Foundation’s innovative funding model encourages researchers to share results, learnings, successes and failures and avoid the duplication of work. “Funding projects such as this trial as part of our Global Action Plan will lead to an acceleration of results that will positively impact and benefit men diagnosed and living with cancer,” said Mr Villanti.

The global research, with projects in various stages, currently includes five Global Action Plans. Four of these Global Action Plans are highlighted below:

  • GAP1 aims to improve treatment responses in men with prostate cancer by identifying and distinguishing between patterns in primary and metastatic cancer (cancer which has spread beyond the prostate).
  • GAP2 aims to improve detection of prostate cancer by developing new tracers and techniques. This study specifically looks at improving treatment options for men who have advanced disease, where cancer has spread outside of the prostate. 
  • The GAP3 initiative aims to create the largest centralised prostate cancer Active Surveillance database to date, which will be used to optimise the management of men under surveillance and reduce the side effects of overtreatment in men where treatment could be delayed.
  • GAP5 centres on testicular cancer and consists of two sub projects. The first translational research programme under GAP5 looks to improve the understanding of why some men with testicular cancer relapse while others are cured. The project will also uncover the cellular mechanisms of relapse which have until now been relatively poorly understood. The second sub project is the financial support of the TIGER trial in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The TIGER trial is a large, complex clinical trial to be used to establish the best treatment for men who have been treated for testicular cancer and for whom the cancer has relapsed.

“Each of the projects that Movember has put its name and financial support to will have an impact on the way that we perceive and treat the diseases that affect men,” says Garron Gsell, CEO and Founder of the Men’s Foundation, managers of the Movember campaign in South Africa. “This will make a significant difference to the lives of men across the globe, including South Africa, and help medical practitioners ensure that they are able to prescribe the most effective and lifesaving treatment options.”

In South Africa, there are four main programmes that have been administered by Movember and their inaugural Men’s Health partners, the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) between 2009 and 2015.  These survivorship and research programmes, aimed to provide South African men and their families with the best treatment and support available. 

“We aim to accelerate improvements in health outcomes that matter to men and to ensure that men in South Africa live happier, healthier and longer lives,” adds Gsell, “particularly since we are broadening our funding base through the inclusion of the Prostate Cancer Foundation of South Africa (PCFSA) and the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) as beneficiary partners to the campaign as of 2015, where we look forward to investing into further programmes that align to our global objectives that enable measurable outcomes that benefit South African men from all walks of life”.