SANTA MONICA, Calif., January 23, 2018 – Celebrating its 25th year as the global leader in driving cutting-edge research leading to treatments and cures for prostate cancer, the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) today announced it has awarded an additional $8 million in research funding to eight new 2017 PCF Challenge Award teams, bringing its total investment in 2017 to $27.8 million.  PCF is the single largest non-governmental organization dedicated solely to funding prostate cancer research.

This funding will support international, multi-institutional, cross-disciplinary teams of scientists conducting highly innovative research with the highest potential for accelerating new and improved treatments for advanced prostate cancer. Each award-winning team received $1 million and will join 14 previously announced 2017 Challenge Award recipients in the PCF research portfolio.

“Of the eight teams awarded, six are investigating novel precision drug discovery for advanced cancers and two are accelerating treatment science in precision diagnosis and imaging of prostate cancer,” said Jonathan W. Simons, MD, president and chief executive officer, PCF. “We are highly optimistic that the research performed by these teams will lead to significant advances in precision medicine treatment for prostate cancer and improve and extend the lives of men with advanced disease.”

The winning teams were selected from a pool of 92 international applications following a rigorous peer review process that assessed each project’s scientific merit and potential impact to patients. The PCF Challenge Awards are highly coveted. As part of PCF’s commitment to accelerating innovation and supporting the career development of young investigators, teams are required to include at least three investigators, one of whom must be within six years of completing a research or medical training program.

The following teams are award recipients:

Targeting CBP/p300 to Suppress Oncogenic Transcription Factors in Advanced Prostate Cancer (exploring of the role of the gene expression regulator CBP/p300 in prostate cancer and its potential as a therapeutic target)

Team Leaders: Karen Knudsen, PhD (Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University), Johann de Bono, MD, PhD (The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust), and Myles Brown, MD (Harvard: Dana Farber Cancer Institute)


Clinical, Environmental, Genetic and Genomic Profile of Men with Early-Onset Lethal Prostate Cancer (identifying clinical and molecular predictors of early-onset, imminently lethal prostate cancer)

Team Leaders: Maha Hussain, MD (Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer of Northwestern University), Edward Schaeffer, MD, PhD (Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer of Northwestern University), Joshua Meeks, MD, PhD (Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer of Northwestern University; Jesse Brown VA Medical Center), Roohollah Sharifi, MD (Jesse Brown VA Medical Center), Scott Tomlins MD, PhD (University of Michigan), and Philip Palmbos, MD, PhD (University of Michigan)


Synthetic Essential Approach to Identify Novel Therapeutic Targets for Prostate Cancer (identifying novel precision medicine drug targets that are effective in prostate cancers with certain mutations)

Team Leaders: Ronald DePinho, MD, Yoaqi Alan Wang, PhD, and Glen Traver Hart, PhD (all of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center)


Characterizing Mechanisms of Sensitivity and Resistance to Anti-Androgen Therapy with Whole-Body Molecular Imaging (evaluating two new prostate cancer PET imaging methods, F-18 PSMA and FDHT, for their prognostic value, clinical utility, and ability to demonstrate tumor heterogeneity)

Team Leaders: Michael Morris, MD (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center), Steven Larson, MD (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center), and Jens Voortman, MD, PhD (VUmc Cancer Center Amsterdam)


CEACAM5-Directed Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cell Therapy for Lethal Neuroendocrine Prostate Cancer (developing a novel CAR T cell therapy for the treatment of neuroendocrine prostate cancer)

Team Leaders: Owen Witte, MD (University of California, Los Angeles), John Lee, MD, PhD (University of California, Los Angeles), Stephen Forman, MD (City of Hope) and Saul Priceman, PhD (City of Hope)


CD46 as a Novel Means to Target Immune Defense Mechanisms and Androgen Pathway Inhibitor Resistance in Metastatic Lethal Prostate Cancer (investigating targeting the immune-regulatory protein CD46 for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer)

Team Leaders:  Eric Small, MD (University of California, San Francisco), Lawrence Fong, MD (University of California, San Francisco), Bin Liu, PhD (University of California, San Francisco)


Glutamine Metabolism in Prostate Cancer: Preclinical and Clinical Evaluation of Dual Inhibition of Glutaminase and PARP (investigating the therapeutic efficacy of targeting glutamine metabolism pathways for the treatment of prostate cancer)

Team Leaders: Richard Lee, MD, PhD and Othon Iliopoulos, MD (both of Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center), and individuals from Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Targeting Chemokine Signaling and MAPK/ERK Pathway in Advanced Prostate Cancer (investigating the role of the CXCR7/MAPK/ERK pathway in castrate resistant prostate cancer and the therapeutic efficacy of targeting this pathway)

Team leaders:  Jindan Yu, MD, PhD (Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer of  Northwestern University), Maha Hussain, MD (Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer of  Northwestern University), Peter Nelson, MD (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center) and individuals from the University of Washington and the University of California, Los Angeles.


Terms to know from this article:


A mass of excess tissue that results from abnormal cell division. Tumors perform no useful body function. They may be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).


The functional and physical unit of heredity passed from parent to offspring. Genes are pieces of DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a specific protein.