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PCF Partner Institutions Honored at AACR Opening Ceremony

April 2, 2012 -- The opening ceremony at the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) conference awarded two PCF-supported institutions, the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and the Royal Marsden Hospital, with the AACR Team Science Award. The award recognizes an outstanding interdisciplinary research team for its innovative and meritorious science that has advanced, or will likely advance, the fundamental knowledge of cancer—or a team that has applied existing knowledge to advance the detection, diagnosis, prevention or treatment of cancer. Also recognized was Dr. Paul Workman for his work in drug discovery and development with ICR and the Royal Marsden Hospital. PCF-funded investigators Johann DeBono and Gert Attard are prominent members of this recognized team.

Together, the two institutions were recognized for their tremendous impact in the preclinical discovery and clinical development of innovative cancer therapeutics. Comprised of experts in cancer biology, pharmacology, medicinal chemistry and medical oncology, the team was responsible with its academic and industrial partners for the discovery of sixteen drug development candidates over the past six years, including the highly promising inhibitor of androgen biosynthesis, CYP17. The development of abiraterone, an inhibitor of CYP17A1 as a new treatment for hormone refractory prostate cancer is an outstanding example of how a highly functioning translational team can rapidly convert a biologic hypothesis into a new cancer therapeutic.   

Clinical members of the research team took abiraterone through its initial Phase I and II studies, which demonstrated antitumor activity with excellent tolerability.  Additionally, in partnership with a biotech company, the research team was involved in the multinational Phase III study that demonstrated a survival advantage of four months for abiraterone over the placebo control group in patients with metastatic disease who had previously been treated with chemotherapy.

“These two highly integrated research collaborations are an example of how drug discovery and treatment sciences translated to patients can pioneer progress in new frontiers," said Dr. Jonathan Simons, President and CEO of the Prostate Cancer Foundation. “The 'silo-less' interdisciplinary team science of this focused group distinguishes it. The Prostate Cancer Foundation couldn’t be more pleased to support research by pioneers like these."

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