Personal profile


Researcher takes on the andlsquo;king' cells of prostate cancer

Prostate cancer kills 3000 Australian men every year, but research into the disease lags far behind that for breast cancer, which causes a similar number of female deaths annually. It is an imbalance Dr Renea Taylor is working to address through her research into the biology of the cells that cause prostate cancer. Armed with this information, she hopes to develop more effective treatments.

Renea says her research indicates that prostate cancer involves a kind of stem cell that is the source of cancerous growths. Identifying and removing these cells is essential to successful treatment so that the cancer does not grow back.

'If initial treatments fail to remove all of these stem-like cells, the cancer can regrow, either in the prostate itself or move to other parts of the body where other tumours form.' She says if these cells escape the original treatment they become resistant to follow-up treatments including chemotherapy and hormone therapy. 'These are the 'king' of cancer cells. They're smart and adaptable.'

Using human biological samples from surgically removed prostate tumours, Renea has been able to identify and collect these stem cells for biological studies.

'We think that every tumour has some of these cells. By understanding what these look like and how they behave, we may make some progress towards devising better drugs for patients to stop the cancer from coming back after initial treatments.'

A second project Renea is working on involves understanding the biology of the prostate cancer stoma cells. These cells provide the support network for the stem-like cells that allows a tumour to grow.

Renea says that in addition to targeting the stem cells, the stomal or 'supporting' cells also need to be stopped in order to prevent regrowth of cancerous tumours. In this way, halting the stomal cells would effectively cut off the food supply to the tumour.

A better understanding of the biology of these cells is expected to help develop drugs that can offer alternatives to the current treatments, which she describes as difficult for patients to deal with.

Working with doctors from the Monash Medical Centre and Cabrini Hospital, she links basic laboratory research with clinical practice, working with the oncologists and surgeons who see patients every day. This interaction continues to inspire her work, as do the men in her life - her father, two brothers, husband and son.

'The trick to encourage men to be proactive in seeking regular checks for early detection of prostate cancer. The awareness of prostate cancer is heightened when celebrities are diagnosed and go public with their stories, but men need to be vigilant with their health.'

The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia is a major supporter of her research, which also receives funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Australian Research Council. Renea says her family is a big supporter of Movember, growing moustaches to help raise funds for prostate cancer research, some of which makes its way back into the projects she is involved in.


  • Prostate Cancer
  • Stem Cells
  • Tumour Microenvironment
  • cancer
  • stromal cells
  • experimental models
  • immune-deficient models
  • stem cell-microenvironment interactions
  • tissue-specific stem cells
  • embryonic stem cells
  • exper
  • castration
  • steroid receptors
  • selective estrogen receptor modulators
  • cell cell interaction
  • stromal epithelial signaling
  • reproductive and developmental biology
  • stem ce
  • ex vivo culture
  • hsp90 inhibitors
  • human explants
  • proliferation
  • prostate cancer
  • xenografting
  • tissue recombination
  • immuno-compromised mice
  • stromal niche
  • prostate
  • stem cell differentiation
  • stem cell research
  • adult
  • tissue culture
  • androgen receptor
  • stem cells
  • urogenital sinus mesenchyme epithelium induction differentiation recombinant surothelium secretion e

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2003 2020

Research Output 1997 2018

Enduring epigenetic landmarks define the cancer microenvironment

Pidsley, R. , Lawrence, M. G. , Zotenko, E. , Niranjan, B. , Statham, A. , Song, J. , Chabanon, R. M. , Qu, W. , Wang, H. , Richards, M. , Nair, S. S. , Armstrong, N. , Nim, H. T. , Papargiris, M. , Balanathan, P. , French, H. , Peters, T. , Norden, S. , Ryan, A. , Pedersen, J. & 9 others Kench, J. G., Daly, R. J., Horvath, L., Stricker, P., Frydenberg, M., Taylor, R. A., Stirzaker, C., Risbridger, G. P. & Clark, S. J. 2018 (Accepted/In press) In : Genome Research.

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

A rare castration-resistant progenitor cell population is highly enriched in Pten-null prostate tumours

Sackmann Sala, L., Boutillon, F., Menara, G., De Goyon-Pélard, A., Leprévost, M., Codzamanian, J., Lister, N., Pencik, J., Clark, A., Cagnard, N., Bole-Feysot, C., Moriggl, R., Risbridger, G. P., Taylor, R. A., Kenner, L., Guidotti, J. E. & Goffin, V. Sep 2017 In : Journal of Pathology. 243, 1, p. 51-64 14 p.

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Germline BRCA2 mutations drive prostate cancers with distinct evolutionary trajectories

Taylor, R. A. , Fraser, M. , Livingstone, J. , Espiritu, S. M. G. , Thorne, H. , Huang, V. , Lo, W. , Shiah, Y-J. , Yamaguchi, T. N. , Sliwinski, A. , Horsburgh, S. , Meng, A. , Heisler, L. E. , Yu, N. , Yousif, F. , Papargiris, M. , Lawrence, M. G. , Timms, L. , Murphy, D. G. , Frydenberg, M. & 8 others Hopkins, J. F., Bolton, D., Clouston, D., McPherson, J. D., Van Der Kwast, T., Boutros, P. C., Risbridger, G. P. & Bristow, R. G. 9 Jan 2017 In : Nature Communications. 8, 10 p., 13671

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Open Access

Intraductal carcinoma of the prostate can evade androgen-deprivation, with emergence of castrate tolerant cells

Porter, L. H., Hashimoto, K., Lawrence, M. G., Pezaro, C., Clouston, D., Wang, H., Papargiris, M., Thorne, H., Li, J., Investigators, K., Ryan, A., Norden, S., Moon, D., Bolton, D. M., Sengupta, S., Frydenberg, M., Murphy, D. G., Risbridger, G. P. & Taylor, R. A. 4 Oct 2017 (Accepted/In press) In : BJU International. 24 p.

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle