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Prostate Cancer Foundation, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Oregon Health & Science University Partner to Advance Prostate Cancer Treatment for Our Nation’s Veterans
$5 million commitment launches two new PCF-Veterans Affairs Centers of Excellence in Boston and Portland

LOS ANGELES, Calif., November 11, 2020 — In recognition of Veterans Day, the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) today announced its new $5 million commitment to launch two new Centers of Excellence in collaboration with the VA Boston Healthcare System (VABHS), Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the VA Portland Health Care System (VAPORHCS) and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) to deliver best-in-class precision oncology treatments to Veterans with prostate cancer.

“PCF is committed to continuing to expand our partnership with the VA to advance cutting-edge research and care for Veterans with prostate cancer,” said Jonathan W. Simons, MD, PCF president and CEO. “Partnering with Dana-Farber and Oregon Health & Science University brings top expertise to our precision oncology efforts serving our nation’s Veterans. It is our duty to ensure that no Veteran is left behind when a medical breakthrough comes to the clinic.”

More than 15,000 men in the Veterans Affairs (VA) health system are newly diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, making it the most frequently diagnosed cancer among Veterans. One in nine men and one in six African American men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, and four million men in the U.S. are living with the disease.

Precision medicine is individualized, based on gene sequencing a patient’s tumor, allowing for custom-tailored treatment that targets an individual’s cancer by its unique biology and genetic signature. It is the key to ending deaths from prostate cancer. More than half the funds the PCF has committed have been used to launch its collaborative COE network at the forefront of precision oncology for prostate cancer. The PCF has also dedicated funding to the research of numerous VA physician scientists. The platform the PCF and VA have created is being used to build centers of excellence for other cancers, as well as to launch clinical studies in the fight against COVID-19.

With the addition of the new centers, the PCF has established 12 COEs to date, executing the ambitious mission of improving patient care for U.S. Veterans with prostate cancer. Located in Boston, MA, and Portland, OR, these new COEs join 10 other established Centers in cities across the U.S. in delivering advanced precision oncology treatments to save the lives of Veterans battling prostate cancer. The other centers are based in Philadelphia, PA, Washington, DC, Durham, NC, Tampa Bay, FL, Seattle, WA, Chicago, IL, Bronx, NY, Los Angeles, CA, Manhattan, NY, and Ann Arbor, MI.

“We are proud to partner with the PCF and the VA to launch this first PCF-VA Center of Excellence in New England,” said Dana-Farber President and CEO Laurie H. Glimcher, MD. “Our partnership will create better access to clinical trials and genomics for Veterans across all VA systems, and deliver the best possible care for Veterans diagnosed with prostate cancer.”

The PCF’s Veterans Health Initiative, which was established in 2016, is committed to investing $50 million to deliver innovative, best-in-class prostate cancer care to Veterans, which includes expanding genomic data banking to provide improved prostate cancer treatment, greater access to clinical trials, and resources to develop better precision oncology care.

“This award will make it possible for us to reach out to veterans throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington to offer genetic testing and sequencing for all patients with metastatic prostate cancer,” said Julie Graff, M.D., Section Chief of Hematology/Oncology, VA Portland Health Care System and Associate Professor, Hematology & Medical Oncology, OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. “Knowing more about each patient’s specific mutation(s) gives us the knowledge we need to explore more treatment and clinical trial options. Ultimately, we want Veterans to know they have access to leading treatment and clinical trials through the VA Portland Health Care System.”

The Portland and Boston COEs were established with funding made possible through the Blavatnik Family Foundation and Rob and Cindy Citrone.

Members of the Blavatnik Family Foundation Precision Oncology Center of Excellence (COE) at VABHS-Dana-Farber Boston include: Chong-xian Pan, MD, PhD, MS, Medicine faculty, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, staff physician, hematology/oncology, VABHS; Himisha Beltran, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology Division of Molecular and Cellular Oncology, Dana-Farber, Director of Translational Research-Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber.

Members of the PCF Precision Oncology Center of Excellence (COE) at VAPORHCS-OHSU Portland team include: Julie Graff, MD, oncology (VAPORHCS, OHSU); Tomasz Beer, MD, oncology (OHSU, VAPORHCS); Jeremy Cetnar, MD, oncology (VAPORHCS, OHSU); Ryan Kopp, MD, urology (VAPORHCS); Mark Garzotto, MD, urology (VAPORHCS, OHSU); Amy Moran, PhD, immunology (OHSU); Reid Thompson, MD PhD, radiation oncology (VAPORHCS, OHSU); Rajan Kulkarni, MD PhD, dermatology (VAPORHCS, OHSU); Dean Fong, DO, pathology (VAPORHCS).

To learn more about clinical trials offered by the PCF-VA Centers of Excellence, Veterans should call (206)-277-3621. Information is also available at www.PCF.org/veterans.

About the Prostate Cancer Foundation

The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is the world’s leading philanthropic organization dedicated to funding life-saving prostate cancer research. Founded in 1993 by Mike Milken, PCF has raised more than $830 million in support of cutting-edge research by more than 2,200 research projects at 220 leading cancer centers in 22 countries around the world. Thanks in part to PCF’s commitment to ending death and suffering from prostate cancer, the death rate is down by 52% and countless more men are alive today as a result. The Prostate Cancer Foundation research now impacts more than 70 forms of human cancer by focusing on immunotherapy, the microbiome, and food as medicine. Learn more at www.pcf.org.

Media Contact: 
Staci Vernick
Prostate Cancer Foundation
[email protected]