Jack Martin is an endocrinologist who studies bone cell biology and tumours of the bone. He characterised and cloned parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP), which is secreted by bone and other cancers. This can lead to an excessive build-up of calcium in the blood — hypercalcaemia — and the spread of the disease as bone metastases.
He discovered that PTHrP is responsible for hypercalcaemia in some cancers. His work resulted in twelve patents and has significantly advanced our understanding of bone biology and its and diseases such as osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and breast cancer.
Jack also demonstrated that PTHrP plays a major role in foetal bone development in mammals and has the potential to be used in therapies for osteoporosis. More generally, he has worked to significantly accelerate the growth of cancer research in Australia. He is an advocate for scientific ethics and believes that universities must contribute to the common good.
Emeritus Professor of Medicine, University of Melbourne