Roberts Group - Prostate theranostics and urological diseases


The Prostate Theranostics and Urological Diseases group, led by Dr Matthew Roberts, aims to improve diagnosis, treatment and understanding of prostate cancer, urological infections and other urological diseases. Prostate cancer affects 1 in 6 men in their lifetime, while infections affect 1 in 2 women and 1 in 20 men. So these diseases are important given the ageing population with emergence of superbugs and antibiotic resistance. Other urological diseases include cancers (kidney, bladder, testis and others), voiding dysfunction including benign prostatic hyperplasia, kidney stones and other related issues.

Group members

Improved diagnosis is important on many fronts. Earlier detection of cancers allows treatment at a curable stage to prolong life and avoid additional treatments which may have side effects and be costly. In collaboration with the Queensland PET Service, Herston Imaging Research Facility (HIRF), as well as interstate and international collaborators, the group is investigating optimisation of established imaging methods, such as multiparametric MRI of the prostate, as well as incorporation of advanced molecular imaging, including Prostate-Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA) PET/CT, to better guide prostate biopsy and predict treatment outcomes prior to diagnosis. Building on the pioneering work of Prof RA “Frank” Gardiner in early non-invasive prostate cancer diagnosis, advanced nanotechnology is being explored to characterise new, non-invasive biomarkers that can be used in the wider population to limit blood tests, prostate biopsies and over-treatment of insignificant prostate cancer. This strength in diagnostics is being expanded to characterisation of complicated, potentially life threatening urological infections to enable personalised treatment and limit antibiotic resistance.

Improved treatment will follow on from improved diagnosis, as better disease characterisation will enable treatment for those who really need it, allow treatment to be deferred safely to avoid side effects and distress for the patient and reduce costs to healthcare systems. Introduction of new approaches and modification of existing surgical techniques that have been developed locally or learned abroad are being investigated to improve treatments for individual patients. Local and international collaboration in clinical trials investigating new treatments will bring world-leading research to our local patients. We are investigating new treatment techniques for incurable prostate cancer through translational science collaborations to prolong life and need for additional treatments.

Improved understanding through translational science collaborations will further knowledge on how these diseases occur and allow development of new tests and treatments. A range of conditions are being investigated, including prostatic infections and prostatic diseases. Improved understanding of the patient experience during treatment for cancer and other conditions will also be explored using a multidisciplinary, patient-centred approach with our survivorship, nursing and other allied health colleagues.


a. Prostate cancer

  1. Imaging
  2. Diagnostics (non-invasive biomarkers)
  3. Immunotherapy
  4. Quality-of-life / Survivorship

b. Urological infections

  1. Pathogenesis
  2. Improved diagnosis
  3. Treatment optimisation including clinical trials

c. Imaging / Theranostics in Urological Diseases

d. Kidney stone diagnosis and surgery

e. Endoscopic urology surgery for benign prostatic hyperplasia, bladder cancer and others

f. Robotic surgery

g. Quality-of-life / Survivorship

a.      Local

  1. Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital
  2. Redcliffe Hospital
  3. Princess Alexandra Hospital
  4. Queensland PET Service
  5. Herston Imaging Research Facility
  6. Queensland University of Technology
  7. QIMR Berghofer

b.      National

  1. St Vincent’s Hospital & Garvan Institute of Medical Research
  2. Nepean Hospital & The University of Sydney
  3. Peter Mac Cancer Centre & The University of Melbourne
  4. The Austin Hospital, Victoria