July 31st, 2016

Five new Movember Foundation - PCF Challenge Awards have been granted to fund investigations into lethal prostate cancer

$5.3 million invested in Movember Foundation-PCF Challenge Awards 2016
Where The Money Goes
The Movember Foundation is proud to announce our donation of $5.3 million to the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF), our valued men’s health partner since 2007. These funds, raised by our Mo community during the 2015 Movember US campaign, will support five new Movember Foundation-PCF Challenge Awards to advance treatments and cures for metastatic, lethal prostate cancer. This is an area of urgent need—while prostate cancer is 100% treatable if detected early, approximately 20% of patients develop an aggressive disease that will recur, progress, and metastasize.

The Movember Foundation-PCF Challenge Awards are multi-year team science projects that focus specifically on permanent solutions for lasting remissions in advanced prostate cancer patients. 2016 recipients were selected by a rigorous peer-review, with priority given to high-risk, currently unfunded projects.

The following projects were selected to receive 2016 Movember Foundation-PCF Challenge Awards:

Pharmacogenetic Dissection of Protein Synthesis Control across the Spectrum of PI3K Pathway Mutations in Prostate Cancer led by Andrew Hsieh, MD (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center)
This team is working on strategies to target the cancer-promoting PI3K pathway, which is frequently mutated in treatment resistant prostate cancer. Investigation of these mutations will help determine how they affect responses to various PI3K pathway-targeting agents in order to develop biomarkers that will match patients with optimal therapies.

Development and Qualification of the PCF SELECT (Specific Evaluation in Liquid biopsies of Established prostate Cancer Targets) Plasma DNA Assay led by Gerhardt Attard, MD, PhD (The Institute of Cancer Research, London) and Himisha Beltran, MD (Weill Cornell Medicine)
This team is developing a novel genomics sequencing test capable of identifying actionable mutations from a simple blood sample. The test will allow clinicians to make precision medicine treatment decisions at every treatment change without requiring invasive biopsies.

Targeting ROR-gamma with Novel Therapeutics for Lethal Prostate Cancer led by Hongwu Chen, PhD (University of California, Davis)
Dr. Chen’s team is working to optimize a new therapy that targets ROR-gamma, a partner of the androgen receptor (AR), the primary driver of prostate cancer. This therapy has exhibited potent anti-tumor effects in preclinical models largely through inhibiting the over-production of AR. The team hopes to select a promising therapeutic candidate for entry into clinical trials.

Integrated Identification and Molecular Evaluation of Disseminated Tumor Cells and their Microenvironment led by Kenneth Pienta, MD (Johns Hopkins University)
Dr. Pienta’s team is utilizing novel single cell biotechnologies to study dormant tumor cells that reside in the bone marrow of prostate cancer patients and may eventually reactivate and develop into metastases. The team will develop methods to identify dormant tumor cells with lethal potential, utilize these cells as biomarkers for identifying patients at high risk for recurrence, and credential genomic analyses of dormant tumor cells for guiding precision medicine decisions for men with advanced prostate cancer.

Mechanisms of Prostate Cancer Relapse in Marrow led by Russell Taichman, DMD (University of Michigan)
Prostate cancer cells are able to live in bone marrow and develop into lethal bone metastases.  Using the emerging cancer model Drosophila melanogaster (fruitfly) in concert with mammalian tumor models, this team will identify evolutionarily conserved genes critical for the growth and survival of disseminated prostate cancer cells in bone.  This will lead to the identification of new therapeutic targets for advanced prostate cancer patients.

“The latest discoveries in prostate cancer genetics have brought us closer than ever to a cure, but there is far more work to be done in the realm of advanced, aggressive prostate cancers,” said Jonathan W. Simons, MD, president and chief executive officer, PCF. “These 5 teams exemplify how a multi-disciplinary approach is necessary for realizing critical results. We are grateful for our partnership with the Movember Foundation and their commitment to saving the lives of all men with this disease.”

To date, the Movember Foundation has contributed over $44 million to the PCF funding 33 projects with global impact that will help PCF further its aim to provide men in urgent need with new prostate cancer treatments and cures. Thanks to the Movember community’s generous financial support we are working with world-class partners like the PCF towards a world where men live happier, healthier, longer lives. 

Read more about the 1,000 programs the Movember Foundation has funded around the globe.