Funded Programmes


To view all of the programmes being funded by the Movember Foundation, please see our Report Cards (English only). 

Prostate Cancer Breakthrough, November 2014

Research funded by the Movember Foundation has resulted in a scientific breakthrough with significant implications for men with prostate cancer. The research project, led by Professor Robert Bristow in Toronto, Canada, has found that men have a genetic “signature” that will identify prostate cancer patients who are at high risk of their cancer returning after primary treatment, such as surgery or radiotherapy. A new test will allow men to be offered a more personalised treatment plan, avoid unnecessary treatments and side effects, and will increase chances of survival.

The team was funded primarily by the Movember Foundation with a grant of CAD $15 million, which is largest donation we have made to a single research project. The findings have been published this month in the Lancet, one of the world’s leading medical journals, and the research team will now work with institutions across the globe to validate the test over the next 2-3 years.

  • Click here to watch the video of Professor Robert Bristow (English only).
  • Click here to learn more about prostate cancer

Funding announcement October 2014

The Movember Foundation is investing CHF 1.8 million in a Swiss-French clinical trial designed to tackle the lethal progression of prostate cancer.

Funds in Action: Professor George Thalmann

Here Professor George Thalmann, who is part of a Movember funded research team in Switzerland, explains how his work is making a difference.

Read All About It: Movember’s Global Action Plan News

By bringing together more than 250 of the world's top prostate and testicular cancer researchers, the Global Action Plan (GAP) facilitates a new and unprecedented level of global research collaboration, not previously seen within the cancer community.

Meet Professor Marco Cecchini

OCCUPATION: Scientist, basic research in bone and cancer biology

TITLE: Head of the Urology Research Laboratory

LOCATION: Department of Urology & Department of Clinical Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of Bern, Switzerland

FAVORITE MO: Dr. Cyrill Rentsch (Division of Urology, University Hospital Basel, Switzerland) who has founded MÔSPITAL, the Movember network for professionals and their friends working in Swiss and foreign hospitals.


  • Mechanisms of bone metastasis in prostate cancer.
  • Identification and characterization of “stem/progenitor-like” cells in prostate cancer; validation of the hypothesis that they are cells-of-origin of metastatic growth (metastasis initiating cells, MICs) and of the progression to castration resistant prostate cancer (CRPC).
  • Molecular characterization of the survival and growth support for “stem/progenitor-like” prostate cancer cells provided by the local microenvironment (tumour stroma).

1. You’ve dedicated your time and expertise to the research field… what’s your motivation for this?

I spent my first years after Medicinal Degree as clinician in a department of internal medicine. During this time I became frustrated by the ascertainment that for diseases such as cancer, despite the progressive improvement in its early diagnosis, still there was no valid and effective therapy. This essentially because of the lack of knowledge on the basic mechanisms determining the disease. Therefore, I decided to dedicate myself exclusively to basic research and try to contribute to the understanding of disease mechanisms. Colonization (or metastasis) of distant organs by cancer cells is the real cause of death for 9 out of 10 cancer patients. This consideration has always been the essential motivation for focussing my research on metastatic disease. This and my other research interest in bone biology are complementary in trying to understand the mechanism(s) at the origin of the high propensity of prostate cancer to metastasize bone.

2. How does your work as part of Movember’s GAP initiative push the limits of research in prostate cancer?

A variety of cancers, including prostate cancer, shed continuously cancer cells from their primary tumour site. These cancer cells circulate in blood (circulating tumour cells, CTCs) and eventually land in various body tissues (disseminated tumour cells, DTCs), which may develop with time in overt, clinically detectable metastases. CTCs occur at very low concentrations of one tumor cell in a background of millions of blood cells and their number may increase in advanced stages of cancer disease. However, it is still debated whether their simple enumeration has a predictive value for metastasis development and/or a prognostic value for patient survival. Furthermore, methods for CTC identification/enumeration are often not sensitive enough to detect them in early cancer disease. CTCs are heterogeneous even within the same patient and their characterization in terms of gene/protein expression profile and genetic variants may inform to guide personalized treatment, monitor therapy and detect emerging resistance.

The research goal for the European CTCs team within the Movember GAP1 is increase the sensitivity and the predicting/prognostic value of at least 2 currently available methods for CTC detection. To achieve this, we plan to isolate not only single CTCs, but also multicellular aggregates of cancer cells, also named circulating tumour microemboli (CTMs). These have been generally overlooked and their inclusion in the CTC count may improve the detection limit of the methods. In addition, we will include the analysis of stem/progenitor cell marker expression by CTCs/CTMs. Cells with these characteristics are suspected to represent the subpopulation able to initiate metastatic growth (metastasis initiating cells, MICs). Therefore, their presence within the CTCs/CTMs may provide more information on the future outcome of the disease. Analysis of stem/progenitor cell marker expression is also relevant part of other Movember-GAP1 research areas, such as the “Exosomes”, and I am confident that this multiple tackle will have a positive effect on patient management.

3. What does your project mean to a man living with prostate cancer?

A proportion of 20 to 30% of the patients that undergo radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer will experience fatal disease progression to castration resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) and metastases. This most likely is due to DTCs (or micrometastases) already present at the moment of surgery. Currently, we do not have a test that it is able to discriminate between the patients harbouring this kind of aggressive prostate cancer from those (70-80%) with an “indolent” cancer that will never progress and be cause of death. Therefore, these two patient categories will risk under-treatment or over-treatment, respectively. Furthermore, all these patients will suffer of psychological distress for not knowing their prognostic future.

Our project aims at resolving these problems by defining within the CTCs the subpopulation that is most likely responsible for disease relapse and, therefore, provide a CTC test able to more precisely predict patient risk for disease progression.

4. What has Movember’s funding through GAP allowed you to do that would not have otherwise been possible?

Essentially it allowed the transfer of some basic research knowledge we have in metastatic disease to an important problem in the clinical scenario of prostate cancer, namely patient risk definition, to try to resolve it.

5. Do you have a message for all the Mo Bros and Mo Sistas around the world?

Yes, especially for the youth: do not wait for donation, but donate now for the support of current research that will be essential for the therapy of people, which are now your peers, but will suffer of prostate cancer in the future.