The chief of urologic oncology at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Isaac Yi Kim, MD, PhD, MBA, has been awarded a $954,000 Prostate Cancer Research Program Idea Development Award for Established Investigators to support work on a hormone therapy, Xtandi (enzalutamide), which targets a protein that prostate cancer cells need for growth and survival.
The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Defense Office of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program. The funds will support Kim’s research into how neuroendocrine markers impact a common treatment for a type of PC that doesn’t respond to testosterone-lowering therapies, or castration-resistant PC.
Hormone therapy is based on the reduction of male hormone levels in order to stop cancer growth. There are different approaches classified as hormone therapy. Xtandi is designed for men who suffer from advanced PC. This approach blocks the male hormones from signaling the cancer cell to grow.
“While enzalutamide is considered a cornerstone of care for men with castration-resistant prostate cancer, clinical benefits are limited to a median time of 18-24 months because the disease eventually becomes resistant to this treatment,” Kim said in a press release. “Our study aims to understand the link between this resistance and nerve-like cell features (neuroendocrine differentiations) so that we can find an effective treatment option for men who have developed resistance to androgen deprivation therapy and enzalutamide.”
Preliminary data from Kim’s studies reveal that castration-resistant PC tissues have a master switch that induces treatment-resistance via neuroendocrine differentiation. Kim will conduct this new study using lab models and human tissue samples of Xtandi-resistant PC to measure levels of this master switch protein, as well as its potential to block it.
“This award will further advance our knowledge of how castration-resistant prostate cancer can be better targeted so that we can provide this patient population with new options in managing their disease. I am grateful to the Department of Defense for its support,” Kim said.
Kim will be studying Xtandi through August 2020.
Xtandi was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in August 2012. It was developed by Medivation and Astellas Pharma and now is marketed as Xtandi Capsules, for the treatment of metastatic castration-resistant PC in patients previously given Taxotere (docetaxel).