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Finding a remedy for the incurable advanced stages of Prostate Cancer

Dr Varinder Jeet at TRI, Brisbane Source: Photo Supplied

Here we have a short conversation with Dr Varinder Jeet - a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre, which is a dedicated, disease-specific national prostate cancer research centre based in Brisbane. Preetinder Singh Grewal reports...

Dr Varider Jeet is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre, which is a dedicated, disease-specific national prostate cancer research centre based in Brisbane’s prestigious Translational Research Institute (TRI).

His cancer research focus is to find a suitable remedy for the currently incurable advanced stages of Prostate Cancer.

Dr Jeet hails from a small town in Punjab, named Balachaur near Nawan Shahr. He did his Master’s degree in Biotechnology from Punjabi University, Patiala and went on to complete his PhD in cancer medicine from the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney.

Dr Varinder Jeet has been working in the field of prostate cancer for more than ten years and the research team he is working for, is on the brink of finding a new diagnostic marker and a therapeutic target for the detection and treatment of prostate cancer.

Dr Jeet
Supplied

What is Prostate Cancer?

The prostate is a gland located immediately below the bladder, in front of the bowels. It produces fluid that protects and enriches sperm.

Prostate cancer only affects men, as women do not have a prostate gland. It is a highly vicious disease responsible for the deaths of 4000 Australians every year and is projected to effect about 20,000 Australian men annually.

Prostate cancer occurs when some of the cells in the prostate reproduce far more rapidly than normal, resulting in cancer. If left untreated, prostate cancer cells may eventually spread from the prostate and invade distant parts of the body, particularly the lymph nodes and bones, producing secondary tumours in a process known as metastasis.

One of the most worrying aspects of the disease is that most prostate cancers develop without men experiencing any symptoms in the early stages. Therefore, testing at earlier stages remains the best option before the disease progresses.

The current method of detection relies heavily on the PSA blood test. PSA stands for prostate specific antigen, which is a protein produced by the prostate and found in the blood. High levels of PSA may suggest a possible abnormal growth of the prostate that may or may not be cancer. This unreliability of the PSA test in some cases remains (Achilles heel for the doctors or remains a major problem) as it either falsely detects cancers in some men or misses the cancer altogether. This leads to unnecessary surgeries or radiation treatments.

‘The goal of our team is to find something which is more accurate and reliable than PSA’ Varinder adds.

Dr Jeet
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To fulfil this ambition, the research team he is working for in collaboration with a pharmaceutical company in Sydney has developed a new blood test which not only provides accurate information about prostate cancer at earlier stages but also predicts whether the cancer is going to spread or not.

‘The new test is in the final stages of approval and may appear in the market shortly’. Varinder expects.

He further adds that if we can hit two birds with one stone would be an perfect icing on the cake. That’s what we are currently attempting to do. We have very reason to believe that the new protein can also be targeted to provide an effective treatment option for patients diagnosed with advanced stages of prostate cancer.

Varinder mentions that due to the confidentiality of the project, he was unable to release more details but further information about the discoveries would be made available later on after consultation with the parterning pharmaceutical company.

Dr Jeet
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Research Interests

Identification of the molecular changes, progression of prostate cancer, androgen independence, high-throughput bioprofiling, screening, validation, and functional evaluation of targets.

Dr Jeet
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Biography

Dr Varinder Jeet completed his PhD studies from the University of New South Wales, Sydney in 2009. He received a Masters degree in Biotechnology from Punjabi University, India. He started his PhD in 2005 after receiving the Sydney Foundation of Medical Research Postgraduate Scholarship. During his PhD, he investigated various aspects of prostate cancer (PC) including development of a suitable model for prostate cancer progression, study of mechanisms underlying advanced PC and targeted gene therapy mediated approaches to curb the growth and proliferation of PC cells.

Soon after completing his PhD, he moved to Brisbane to work on the dendritic cell based cancer immunotherapy at the Mater Hospital, Brisbane. His current project at APCRC - Q involves the identification and targeting of various molecular markers that underlie the progression of prostate cancer towards androgen independence.

Dr Jeet
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Dr Jeet
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