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The Prostate Cancer Foundation Awards $5.5 Million to PCF Challenge Award Recipients to Advance Prostate Cancer Research
Six New Teams Will Focus on Highly Innovative New Therapeutic Strategies for Advanced Prostate Cancer

LOS ANGELES, Calif., October 30, 2018 – The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is announcing today that it will be awarding more than $5.5 million in research funding to six new 2018 PCF Challenge Award teams. Funding for the PCF Challenge Award 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. Celebrating its 25th year as the global leader in driving cutting-edge research, PCF remains the single largest non-governmental organization dedicated solely to funding prostate cancer research.

“We are proud to have the opportunity to fund six teams of deserving investigators who show promising developments in new therapeutic strategies for advanced prostate cancer, including the areas of targeted radiation threrapy and the optimization of immunotherapy.  We are hopeful that exploring these targeted areas will lead to the development of better treatments while saving lives,” said Jonathan W. Simons, MD, president and chief executive officer, PCF.

The winning teams were selected from a pool of 70 international applications following a rigorous peer review process that assessed each project’s scientific merit and potential impact to patients. 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 2018 PCF Challenge Award recipients are:

Long Non-Coding RNA, NORAD, and its Targeting MicroRNAs as Treatment Stratifiers and Modulators of DNA Damage and Immune Response in Advanced Metastatic Prostate Cancer (studying the potential for RNA biomarkers to predict patient responses to specific treatments)

TEAM LEADERS: Claire Fletcher, PhD (Imperial College London), Charlotte Bevan, PhD (Imperial College London)


Mechanisms of Resistance to PSMA Radioligand Therapy: Radiation Resistance Versus Dose (evaluating the mechanisms by which PSMA-targeted radiation therapy works, and developing biomarkers to select patients most likely to benefit)

TEAM LEADERS: Thomas Hope, MD (University of California, San Francisco), Matthew Rettig, MD (University of California, Los Angeles), Michael Morris, MD (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Cancer), Matthias Eiber, MD (Technical University of Munich)


Immune-Radiation Therapy for Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer (testing the combination of radiation therapy and immunotherapy for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer, and identify biomarkers and mechanisms of treatment response)

TEAM LEADERS: George Coukos, MD, PhD (University of Lausanne, and Ludwig Cancer Research), Mark Rubin, MD (University of Bern)


Master Regulators Underlying Tumor-Microenvironment Interactions in Metastatic Prostate Cancer (developing precision medicine treatments that target the prostate tumor microenvironment)

TEAM LEADERS: Michael Shen, PhD (Columbia University Irving Medical Center), Charles Drake, MD, PhD (Columbia University Irving Medical Center), Andrea Califano, Dr (Columbia University Irving Medical Center)


Identifying and Targeting Immunogenic Prostate Cancer at High Risk for Lethal Metastatic Progression (developing biomarkers to identify prostate cancer patients most likely to respond to checkpoint immunotherapy)

TEAM LEADERS: Steven Balk, MD, PhD (Harvard: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center), Huihui Ye, MD (Harvard: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center), David Avigan, MD (Harvard: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center), Gordon Freeman, PhD (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute)


Therapeutic Reversal of a Metabolic Mechanism that Drives Prostate Cancer Resistance to AR Antagonists (determining how the glucocorticoid receptor pathway drives resistance to hormone therapies, and developing new treatments to prevent this from happening)

TEAM LEADER: Nima Sharifi, MD, (Cleveland Clinic)

*Dr. Nima Sharifi has successfully competed for the PCF Challenge Award for the second time in four years.

About the Prostate Cancer Foundation

The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is the world’s leading philanthropic organization funding and accelerating prostate cancer research. Founded in 1993, PCF has raised more than $765 million and provided funding to more than 2,000 research programs at more than 210 cancer centers and universities. The PCF global research enterprise extends to 22 countries and funds a robust research portfolio. PCF advocates for greater awareness about 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. For information about PCF, visit www.pcf.org.

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Colleen McKenna
Prostate Cancer Foundation
(310) 570-4722
[email protected]

Donald Wilson for the Prostate Cancer Foundation
(310) 428-4730
[email protected]