The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) has announced its six Challenge Awards winners. These awards are focus on improving the treatment of lethal prostate cancer by financially supporting multi-disciplinary teams of researchers.
In the beginning of this year, PCF opened applications in the area of treatment sciences, which evaluates patient’s reactions to different therapeutic approaches.
An important aspect of projects that receive the Challenge Awards is their research needs to be directly applied in human cases, which can result in a significant impact on therapeutic strategies for prostate cancer patients.
“What is so meaningful about these projects is their emphasis on putting the most severe cases of prostate cancer into lasting remissions,” Jonathan W. Simons, MD, president and CEO of the Prostate Cancer Foundation, said in a news release. “The Foundation’s support of treatment sciences research has immediate clinical relevancy that will result in game-changing therapies for all men with this disease.”
After rigorous peer-review of as many as 55 candidates, the winners were selected based on the relevance of their clinical research and the potential of near-term impact on medical standard of care. Furthermore, unfunded high-risk and innovative projects were given priority.
One of the winning projects is led by Robert Jeraj, PhD, of the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, whose research focuses on molecular imaging to assess metastatic prostate cancer patient’s response to therapy. This type of technology can allow clinicians to predict the time to disease progression for patients receiving enzalutamide, this way improving therapeutic strategy and allowing the development of novel therapies.
Another winning project intends to develop an FDA-approved prognostic test to classify patients with genetic mutations that make them susceptible to develop resistance to prostate cancer treatment. The research, led by Nima Sharifi, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic will investigate an inherited genetic mutation, 3βHSD1 that enhances the production of male hormones, such as testosterone, and can result in poor treatment outcomes.
The remaining four projects that received funding include “Targeting Genomic Instability in SPOP Mutant Prostate Cancer,” led by Christopher Barbieri, MD, PhD, of Weill Cornell Medical College, the 2011 Peter and Laurie Grauer-PCF Young Investigator; “Identifying Early Biomarkers of Anti-Androgen Treatment Resistance and Lethal Prostate Cancer,” led by Christopher Maher, PhD, of Washington University, the 2010 Stewart Rahr-PCF Young Investigator; “Eliminating Lethal Micrometastic Prostate Cancer Through High Intensity Short Duration AR Suppression,” led by Mary-Ellen Taplin, MD, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School; and “Early Detection of Neuroendocrine Prostate Cancer Transformation Using Circulating Genomic Signatures,” led by Himisha Beltran, MD, of Weill Cornell Medical College, the 2010 Lefrak Family-PCF Young Investigator.