Eight Research Teams to Share $7.5 Million in Prostate Cancer Challenge Awards

Eight Research Teams to Share $7.5 Million in Prostate Cancer Challenge Awards

Eight teams of researchers will be sharing $7.5 million in research grants from the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF).

The 2017 PCF Challenge Awards will go to international, cross-disciplinary teams who will conduct  innovative studies on critical, unmet medical needs of men with prostate cancer.

The winning projects, announced at the 24th Annual PCF Scientific Retreat in Washington Sept.5-7, were:

  1. Clinicopathological Correlation and Molecular Signature Identification and Risk Stratification of Prostate Cancer in African American U.S. Veterans, With and Without Exposure to Battlefield Chemicals” — $1 million. A team will study prostate cancer samples from veterans to better understand the biology of the disease in African-American men. It will also look at whether exposure to battlefield chemicals such as Agent Orange play a role in the development and progression of the cancer.
  2. Curing Lethal Non-Castrate Prostate Cancer: Integrative Molecular Analysis for Mechanisms of Exceptional Response, Resistance and Recurrence” — $1 million. A team will develop a precision medicine approach to treating prostate cancer patients who have a high-risk localized disease or low-volume metastatic tumors. The treatment they will study will be a regimen of androgen-targeted therapies, followed by maximum treatment of the primary tumor.
  3. Elucidating mechanisms of Effectiveness and Resistance to Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA) Targeted Radioligand Therapy (RLT) Using 177-Lu-PSMA-617” — $1 million. A team will conduct preclinical-trial studies plus clinical trials of whether the radiation-emitting therapy 177-Lu-PSMA-617 is effective against prostate cancer.
  4. Harnessing Synergies Between 177-Lutate Therapy and Olaparib to Improve Clinical Outcome of Men with Metastatic Castration Resistant Prostate Cancer” — $1 million. A team will test the effectiveness of a combination of the radiation therapy 177-Lu-PSMA and the PARP-inhibitor Lynparza (olaparib) as a treatment for advanced prostate cancer.
  5. Multiplatform Profiling of Lethal Prostate Cancer in the Veterans Affairs Population” — $1 million. A team will look at how gene mutations generate faulty protein associated with prostate cancer. The researchers will use samples from veterans. The goal is to identify mechanisms involved in prostate cancer progression and the development of resistance to treatments, and biomarkers associated with both.
  6. Optimization of Prostate-Specific Membrane Antigen-Targeted Radiation” — $1 million. A team will study whether new PSMA-targeted radiation-emitting treatments are effective against advanced prostate cancer.
  7. SEARCH: Survivorship Enhancement in Men with Prostate Cancer At Risk for Poor Cognitive Health During Treatment with ADT” — $515,000. A team will develop methods to measure whether androgen-targeted prostate cancer therapies increase the risk of patients experiencing cognitive decline. They will also try to develop biomarkers to identify men at risk. And the team will try to come up with ways to prevent further cognitive decline in those who are still being treated.
  8. Targeting BRN2 in Neuroendocrine Prostate Cancer” — $1 million. A team will try to develop a therapy targeting BRN2, a protein that drives the aggressive neuroendocrine type of prostate cancer. They will also try to develop biomarkers to identify patients who could benefit from the treatment.

“We are proud and excited to fund these eight teams who will be conducting life-saving research for patients with prostate cancer,” Dr Jonathan W. Simons, the foundation’s president and chief executive officer, said in a press release. “The research conducted by these teams will change the face of how we view the treatment landscape of prostate cancer and have the potential to result in cures even for men with very advanced disease who previously had no further treatment options available.”

Ninety-teams applied for the awards. Projects were chosen for their scientific merit and potential impact on prostate cancer. The eight winners will join six previously announced 2017 Challenge Award winners. The foundation partnered with the Movember Foundation in making the Challenge grants.