Prostate Cancer Foundation and Movember Drive Scientific Discovery to Battle Prostate Cancer

2013 MOVEMBER-PCF Challenge Awards Announced

SANTA MONICA, Calif.--()--The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) today announced that it has funded six Movember-PCF Challenge Awards that aim to accelerate scientific discovery and new treatments for prostate cancer patients. The projects chosen represent a range of focus and expertise that will tackle the most challenging problems that prostate cancer patients face in the clinic.

Funds for the awards were made possible through a generous $7.7 million contribution from PCF’s partner, Movember, the global men’s health charity that gets men to grow and women to support the moustache for thirty days each November to raise funds and awareness for cancers affecting men.

Movember-PCF Challenge Awards are designed to link researchers with diverse intellectual capabilities—scientists who otherwise might simply conduct isolated research in their own silos—into productive, synergistic teams of investigators in strategic areas of prostate cancer research. These awards are given to projects not yet funded by any government or foundation program. The six teams were selected in a global competition of 62 team applications from 45 medical institutions, and 7 countries. PCF’s designation as a National Cancer Institute approved funding entity ensured that each of the 62 applicants was subject to a rigorous peer review process that conforms to the highest standards set forth by the National Institutes of Health.

PCF charged the peer review panel to look for exceptional proposals that reflect not just “out-of-the-box” thinking but ideas for which no established “boxes” exist. The highest bar was set for first-in-field ideas around the world that could make a difference for patients battling the most advanced and lethal forms of prostate cancer.

The areas of research being pursued by the projects selected reflect a dazzling array of innovation, including research on four next-generation medicines and two new platform technologies in personalized oncology that have the potential to dramatically change the landscape of prostate cancer research and treatment.

“We are proud to partner with Movember to fund these cross-disciplinary teams of scientists with bold approaches to the most challenging and perplexing problems in prostate cancer research,” said Jonathan W. Simons, MD, president and CEO of PCF. “We are profoundly grateful for the generous support of the Movember community.”

To date, Movember has donated more than $18 million to PCF to support prostate cancer research, funding 15 game-changing research awards in the U.S., Canada and Great Britain. The data generated from these Movember-funded projects has changed the daily practice of oncology for every patient with advanced prostate cancer in the Western World.

“Thanks to the commitment from our Mo Bros and Mo Sistas in the U.S., we are able to fund vital research through the Movember-PCF Challenge Awards,” said Mark Hedstrom, Movember U.S. Country Director. “The aim of the Challenge Awards is to accelerate scientific discovery and find more effective diagnoses and treatments for men with prostate cancer.”

Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death for men in the United States and currently affects more than two million American men. One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.

The following six projects were chosen to receive Movember-PCF Challenge Award funding:

2013-2015 Movember-PCF Challenge Award ($1 Million)

Co-targeting the Cell Cycle and Androgen Signaling Axis via CDK4/6 Inhibition and Androgen Deprivation: a Novel Paradigm for Treating Metastatic Hormone-Sensitive Prostate cancer

Principal Investigator: Maha Hussain, MD (University of Michigan)

Co-investigators: Felix Feng, MD (University of Michigan), Karen Knudsen, PhD (Thomas Jefferson University)

In the quest to understand which agents can be combined with minimal toxic consequences and optimal results for putting patients into remissions, Dr. Maha Hussain’s team will test a novel combination of traditional hormone therapy paired with an experimental new medicine that has been shown to be effective in advanced breast cancer patients.

2013-2016 Movember-PCF Challenge Award ($1.5 Million)

Targeting BET Bromodomain Proteins: A Novel Therapeutic Strategy for Treatment Resistant Prostate Cancer

Principal Investigator: Arul Chinnaiyan, MD, PhD (University of Michigan)

Co-investigators: Shaomeng Wang, PhD (University of Michigan), Felix Feng, MD (University of Michigan)

Dr. Chinnaiyan and his team are designing a new medicine that can be used to block a protein that is implicated in generating activity in prostate cells that drives cancer progression. In the laboratory, the team has shown that this new drug, a BET bromodomain inhibitor, may be more effective in treatment-resistant settings compared to existing drugs like Xtandi. The goal of this project is a microscope-to-market development of such a medicine that is safe and effective for patients battling metastatic prostate cancer.

2013-2015 Movember-PCF Challenge Award ($1 Million)

Biomarkers of Therapeutic Response and Resistance to Androgen Receptor Signaling Inhibitors

Principal Investigator: Josh Lang, MD (University of Wisconsin)

Co-investigators: David Beebe, PhD (University of Wisconsin), Justine Bruce, MD, (University of Wisconsin), Mark Stein, MD (Robert Wood Johnson Medical School)

Dr. Lang and his team are delivering a new platform technology that, in a simple blood draw, allows a doctor to query a single prostate cancer cell and look at hundreds of different and potentially actionable properties that could inform a number of clinical decisions.

2013-2015 Movember-PCF Challenge Award ($1 Million)

Understanding the Role of Tumor Heterogeneity of Treatment-Resistant Prostate Cancer Using Avataroid Technology

Principal Investigator: Yu Chen, MD, PhD (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC))

Co-investigators: Howard Scher, MD (MSKCC), James Hicks, PhD (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory), Binzhi Qian, PhD (MSKCC), Brett Carver, MD (MSKCC), Daniel Danila, MD (MSKCC), Anuradha Gopalan, MD (MSKCC), Stephen Solomon, MD (MSKCC).

“Avataroid” technology allows growth in the laboratory of prostate tumor cells from tissue biopsies or circulating tumor cells. Dr. Yu Chen and his collaborators will use this technology to determine the best medicine to treat a patient’s tumor and to monitor responses to medicines. The application of avataroid (or “tumoroid”) technology also has myriad implications in a variety of other clinical and drug development contexts that will further the advance of precision medicine treatments.

2013-2016 Movember-PCF Challenge Award ($1.5 Million)

Defining Therapeutic Approaches to Target AR Pathway-Independent Prostate cancer (APIPC)

Principal Investigator: Peter Nelson, MD (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center)

Co-investigators: Ken Pienta, MD (Johns Hopkins), Emmanuel Antonarakis, MD (Johns Hopkins), Michael Ittman, MD, PhD (Baylor College of Medicine)

Dr. Nelson and his team are studying a family of proteins known as Fibroblast Growth Factors (FGFs) that may be implicated in prostate cancer resistance to therapy. By studying the role of FGFs in paving the way for androgen independence, Dr. Nelson and his colleagues will generate the basic foundational knowledge needed for the development of newer, more potent therapeutics to treat patients suffering from advanced treatment-resistant prostate cancer.

2013-2015 Movember-PCF Challenge Award ($1 Million)

MYC RNAi Nanoparticles for Metastatic Prostate Cancer Treatment

Principal Investigator: Omid Farokhzad, MD (Harvard Medical School)

Co-investigators: Angelo De Marzo, MD, PhD (Johns Hopkins), Charles Bieberich, PhD (University of Maryland), Srinivasan Yegnasubramanian, MD, PhD (Johns Hopkins), Jinjun Shi, PhD (Harvard Medical School)

The goal of Dr. Farokhzad’s team is to deliver a new medicine that uses nanoparticles to effectively target and kill prostate cancer cells using a unique mechanism engineered to deliver short chains of nucleic acids called small, interfering RNAs (siRNAs) that can eradicate tumors. The therapeutic targets of these siRNAs were previously thought to be undruggable.

About Movember

Movember aims to forever change the face of men's health through the power of the moustache, by raising vital awareness and funds for men's health issues to combat prostate and testicular cancer and mental health challenges. Movember programs are focused on awareness and education, living with and beyond cancer, and research to achieve our vision of an everlasting impact on the face of men’s health. Since 2003, three million participants have raised over $446MM for the cause, funding more than 550 programs globally, with official Movember campaigns taking place in 21 countries. Movember is fully accredited by the Better Business Bureau, and for the past two years, has been named a Top 100 best NGO by The Global Journal. For more information please visit www.movember.com. Movember is a registered 501(c)(3) charity.

About the Prostate Cancer Foundation

The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is the world’s largest philanthropic source of support for accelerating the most promising research for better treatments and cures for prostate cancer. Founded in 1993, PCF has raised more than $548 million and provided funding to more than 1,600 research programs at nearly 200 cancer centers and universities in 17 countries. PCF advocates for greater awareness of prostate cancer and more efficient investment of governmental research funds for transformational cancer research. Its efforts have helped produce a 20-fold increase in government funding for prostate cancer. More information about the PCF can be found at www.pcf.org.

Contacts

PCF
Rebecca Levine, 310-570-4727
rlevine@pcf.org
or
Edelman, for Movember
Alex Roberts, 312-240-3304
alex.roberts@edelman.com

Movember-PCF Challenge Awards (Graphic: Business Wire)

Movember-PCF Challenge Awards (Graphic: Business Wire)

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Contacts

PCF
Rebecca Levine, 310-570-4727
rlevine@pcf.org
or
Edelman, for Movember
Alex Roberts, 312-240-3304
alex.roberts@edelman.com