Many men survive prostate cancer, but thousands of others — whose cancer spreads — inevitably develop resistance to even the most promising treatments, leaving them with few medical options and a dwindling span of life.
Now, armed with a new $10 million grant, a multi-centre “dream team’’ of scientists is embarking on a groundbreaking undertaking into personalized medicine. The goal: to overcome therapeutic resistance in the disease and revolutionize treatment for patients with advanced prostate cancer.
The dream team project, involving more than 30 investigators at the six institutions, consists of three components:
- Biopsies and blood samples of some 500 patients with advanced prostate will be obtained;
- The samples will undergo a comprehensive molecular assessment and pathway-based analysis — the scientists will search for biomarker predictors of sensitivity to specific therapies, along with predictors of resistance to the therapies;
- Treatment approaches will be developed for each patient based on his individual genetic information.
The Vancouver Prostate Centre, located at VGH is the only Canadian site chosen to be part of the team. Led, by Dr. Martin Gleave, urologic surgeon and scientist at Vancouver Coastal Health, distinguished professor in the Faculty of Medicine at UBC, and director of the Vancouver Prostate Centre, the Vancouver team will use advanced genomics to study how prostate cancers figure out how to adapt and overcome the treatment therapies, and then use that information to design combination treatments that target the pathways the cancer cells are using to eliminate their chance of survival.
“This is a new and exciting initiative that will identify adaptive pathways that drive resistance in prostate cancer, and define novel combination therapies to control disease progression,” says Dr. Gleave. “These studies are in the "sweet spot" of the Vancouver Prostate Centre, and will be greatly enhanced through partnerships with these leading American Universities and Health Science Centres.”
The grant, which will provide up to $10 million over three years, is funded by the Prostate Cancer Foundation and Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C). The American Association for Cancer Research — the scientific partner of SU2C — oversees the selection and grant administration process, and provides scientific oversight during the research phases.
For more information at the University of California website, click here.