LOS ANGELES, Calif., May 25, 2021 — In recognition of Military Appreciation Month, the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) announced today its new $2.5 million commitment to launch the Drew Foundation Precision Oncology Center of Excellence in collaboration with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the San Francisco VA Health Care System (SFVAHCS) 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 the University of California, San Francisco brings top expertise to our precision oncology efforts serving our nation’s Veterans. UCSF researchers co-developed the latest FDA-approved PSMA-PET scan which zeroes in on prostate cancer that has spread through the body so it can be better targeted for treatment. It is our duty to ensure that no Veteran is left behind when such medical breakthroughs come 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, and 500,000 Veterans are alive today with the disease in the VA. One in eight men and one in seven Black men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, and four million men in the U.S. are living with the disease.
Precision medicine is the key to ending deaths from prostate cancer. It 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. More than half the funds 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 PCF and the 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 center, PCF has established 13 COEs to date, executing the ambitious mission of improving patient care for U.S. Veterans with prostate cancer. Located in San Francisco, CA, the new COE joins 12 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: Boston, MA; Portland, OR; Philadelphia, PA; Washington, DC; Durham, NC; Tampa Bay, FL; Seattle, WA; Chicago, IL; Bronx, NY; Los Angeles, CA; Manhattan, NY; and Ann Arbor, MI.
Franklin W. Huang, MD, PhD, staff physician in oncology at SFVAHCS and assistant professor, Department of Medicine, UCSF is the principal investigator, and Matthew R. Cooperberg, MD, MPH, chief of urology at SFVAHCS, and professor and Helen Diller Family Chair in Urology, UCSF is the chief for urology at the new Drew Foundation Precision Oncology Center of Excellence. The collaboration has its roots in UCSF’s foundational work in precision medicine of prostate cancer funded by a Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C)-PCF Prostate Dream Team Translational Cancer Research Grant in 2012.
”The PCF’s commitment to ensuring veterans have access to cutting-edge cancer therapies is critical, and UCSF appreciates our longstanding relationship with the PCF and the advances it enables,” said Alan Ashworth, PhD, FRS, president of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. “The team of UCSF physician scientists involved with the new Drew Foundation Precision Oncology Center of Excellence at the SFVAHCS are leaders in the field and will contribute even more to our use of precision medicine to treat prostate cancer.”
The PCF’s Veterans Health Initiative, which was established in 2016, and spearheaded by the VA’s Secretary’s Center for Strategic Partnerships, 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.
“We are delighted to lend our resources to this effort. Prostate cancer disproportionately affects veterans,” said Bonnie S. Graham, director of the SFVAHCS. “Black men, in particular, have experienced more aggressive forms of this disease. We hope precision oncology can find the reasons behind these disparities and lead to more effective therapies.”
The San Francisco COE was established with generous funding made possible through the Drew Family Foundation.
Other members of the Drew Foundation Precision Oncology Center of Excellence (COE) at SFVAHCS-UCSF include:
- Maren Scheuner, MD,MPH, medical director of Cancer Genetics, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center; professor, Department of Pediatrics, UCSF; staff physician, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology-Oncology, SFVAHCS
- Thomas Hope, MD, associate professor of Radiology, UCSF; director, Molecular Imaging and Therapeutics, Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, UCSF; chief of Nuclear Medicine, SFVAHCS
- Sunny Wang, MD, associate professor of Medicine, UCSF; chief, Division of Hematology and Oncology, SFVAHCS
- Samuel L. Washington, III, MD, MAS, assistant professor of Urology and Goldberg-Benioff Endowed Professor of Cancer Biology, UCSF; staff physician in urology, SFVAHCS.
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 $860 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.
Prostate Cancer Foundation
Donald Wilson for the Prostate Cancer Foundation