To foster more research projects in prostate cancer, the U.S. Congress has increased funding for the Department of Defense’s Prostate Cancer Research Program (PCRP) by $10 million, to $110 million, for fiscal year 2020.
The congressional action marks the third $10 million PCRP hike in four years, according to ZERO — The End of Prostate Cancer, a nonprofit that advances research and works to improve the lives of patients and their families.
“Patients like Steve Bleser with advanced prostate cancer have limited treatment options,” Jamie Bearse, ZERO CEO, said in a press release. “With this additional research funding from Congress, Steve and patients across the nation can now have hope that new breakthroughs will be in the pipeline. Amazing milestones like this only happen because of our dedicated and passionate champions from around the country who are tireless in sharing our mission to end prostate cancer.”
A North Carolina resident and prostate cancer advocate, Bleser recently shared his story with legislators. He’s also attended the ZERO Prostate Cancer Summit, an annual event on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., that brings awareness to the need for more prostate cancer research funding.
“I’ve done chemo, radiation, and many other treatments. My doctors say there are no more options for me,” Bleser said. “This is unacceptable. I won’t give up this fight — funding research is critical to help men like me live longer and have more time.”
A 23-year-old non-profit organization, PCRP supports research focused on ending prostate cancer. Specifically, the program seeks to promote groundbreaking, high-impact investigations with near-term clinical relevance, as well as resources that facilitate translational research. In addition, through mentored research, the PCRP works to cultivate the next generation of prostate cancer scientists.
The PCRP’s strategic plan, which addresses key gaps in prostate cancer research and care, prioritizes the development of therapies that improve outcomes for patients — especially African-Americans, veterans, and other high-risk populations — who have a lethal disease form. It also includes gaining a better understanding of the biology of lethal prostate cancer, and improving the quality of life for disease survivors.
PCRP-supported efforts include the Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Consortium, the Prostate Cancer Biorepository Network, and the Prostate Cancer Project. In recent years, the program has awarded grants that have led to advanced cancer treatments Xgeva (denosumab), Zytiga (abiraterone acetate), Xtandi (enzalutamide) and Erleada (apalutamide), and the advanced diagnostic test Oncotype DX AR-V7.
The most commonly diagnosed non-skin cancer in men, prostate cancer is the second most common cause of male death from cancer. About one in nine U.S. male residents will ultimately develop the disorder. Once the disease reaches advanced stages, patients have about a 30% survival rate. That makes the development of new treatment options vital, the PRCP said.