Teams Working in Advanced Cancer Win 2020 PCF Challenge Awards

Teams Working in Advanced Cancer Win 2020 PCF Challenge Awards
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The philanthropic organization Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) and the charity Movember Foundation have announced the winners of the 2020 PCF Challenge Awards, an initiative that supports promising research in the pursuit of a cure for prostate cancer.

The awards total $2 million, of which $792,000 came from the 2019 Movember U.S. Campaign and $477,000 were raised during the 2019 Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride.

“The intent of the PCF Challenge Award is to support ambitious team science with the potential to develop new treatments for metastatic prostate cancer,” Howard Soule, PhD, executive vice president and chief science officer of PCF, said in a press release.

The PCF Challenge Awards were given to two research teams, one led by Arul Chinnaiyan, MD, PhD, at the University of Michigan, and the other by Phuoc Tran, MD, PhD, at the Johns Hopkins University.

“We congratulate Drs. Chinnaiyan and Tran and their colleagues on their research which we believe has the potential to develop new therapeutic approaches for advanced prostate cancer and provide more options for patients in need,” Soule said.

Chinnaiyan, together with his principal and co-investigators, have identified a promising new approach for advanced and treatment-resistant prostate cancer that targets cancer-driving regulators of gene expression.

In this research project, Chinnaiyan’s research team will first study the mechanism of action of a new agent they identified, and in preclinical work look for early evidence of effectiveness. They then plan to lead an early clinical trial testing the agent, alone and in combinations, in patients with metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer.

Tran and his team members will use samples taken from patients in two clinical trials they are conducting a clinical trial to look for evidence of how the treatments might affect patient outcomes. The trials are looking into stereotactic ablative radiation — a form of targeted, high-dose radiation therapy — either alone or in combination with other radioactive treatments as a means to treat oligometastatic prostate cancer, a cancer that has spread to a limited number of places in the body.

“We look forward to seeing the results from their research projects, which we believe have great potential to lead to new breakthroughs in reducing the number of men that die from prostate cancer,” said Paul Villanti, executive director of the Movember and a PCF Board Member.

Both organizations are actively involved in supporting research and raising awareness to prostate cancer. The Prostate Cancer Foundation funds promising research to improve the prevention, detection, and treatment of prostate cancer, ultimately aiming to cure it. Since its founding in 1993, it has raised more than $848 million, and supported more than 2,200 research projects.

Movember Foundation is a leading charity for the advocacy of men’s health, focusing on different diseases, from mental health and suicide prevention to prostate and testicular cancers. The foundation aims to increase early cancer detection, diagnosis and effective treatments, and promote healthy lifestyles. The foundation has supported to date 1,250 projects worldwide.

Diana holds a PhD in Biomedical Sciences, with specialization in genetics, from Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal. Her work has been focused on enzyme function, human genetics and drug metabolism.
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Inês holds a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Lisbon, Portugal, where she specialized in blood vessel biology, blood stem cells, and cancer. Before that, she studied Cell and Molecular Biology at Universidade Nova de Lisboa and worked as a research fellow at Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologias and Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência. Inês currently works as a Managing Science Editor, striving to deliver the latest scientific advances to patient communities in a clear and accurate manner.
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Diana holds a PhD in Biomedical Sciences, with specialization in genetics, from Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal. Her work has been focused on enzyme function, human genetics and drug metabolism.
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