Prostate Cancer Foundation Grants $5.5M in Research Funding to Challenge Award Winners

Prostate Cancer Foundation Grants $5.5M in Research Funding to Challenge Award Winners
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Prostate Cancer Foundation

More than $5.5 million in funding from the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) will enable six teams of scientists to pursue innovative therapeutic strategies for advanced prostate cancer.

Announced at the end of October, the research funding will go to multi-institutional, cross-disciplinary teams who are the latest winners of the 2018 PCF Challenge Awards. The competitive awards are intended to accelerate progress toward reducing death and suffering due to prostate cancer.

There were 70 international applications for this year’s awards. The selection process calls for peer review of each project’s scientific value and prospective impact on patients.

“We are proud to have the opportunity to fund six teams of deserving investigators who show promising developments in new therapeutic strategies for advanced prostate cancer, including the areas of targeted radiation therapy and the optimization of immunotherapy,” Jonathan W. Simons, PCF’s president and CEO, said in a press release. “We are hopeful that exploring these targeted areas will lead to the development of better treatments while saving lives.”

This year’s award recipients will work on a variety of projects, including studying the potential for RNA biomarkers to predict patient responses to specific treatments; evaluating how PSMA-targeted radiation therapy works and developing biomarkers to choose patients most likely to benefit; testing a combination of radiation and immunotherapy and identifying biomarkers and mechanisms of treatment response; and developing precision medicine treatments that target the tumor microenvironment.

Others projects are aimed at developing biomarkers to identify prostate cancer patients most likely to respond to checkpoint immunotherapy, and learning how the glucocorticoid receptor pathway drives hormone therapy resistance in order to prevent it.

Team leaders include Claire Fletcher, PhD; Charlotte Bevan, PhD; Thomas Hope, MD; Matthew Rettig, MD; Michael Morris, MD; Matthias Eiber, MD; George Coukos, MD, PhD; Mark Rubin, MD; Michael Shen, PhD; Charles Drake, MD, PhD; Andrea Califano, MD; Steven Balk, PhD; Huihui Ye, MD; David Avigan, MD; Gordon Freeman, PhD; and Nima Sharifi, MD.

Under the Challenge Award guidelines, investigative teams may be assembled from one or more institutions. Teams should include at least three highly experienced researchers capable of helping to solve a significant problem in prostate cancer research. Covering direct research costs, the awards range from $300,000 to $1.5 million annually for three years.

PCF looks to grant Challenge Awards to teams who will use the funds to perform studies in ways that existing grants and programs do not currently cover. Applicants are asked to bring new biotechniques and new research expertise to a challenging problem in prostate cancer research.

In forming teams, scientists conducting first-in-field cancer research outside the prostate cancer field are encouraged to partner with established prostate cancer investigators.

The PCF funds the world’s most promising research to improve the prevention, detection, and treatment of prostate cancer, ultimately aiming to cure it.

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