Immuno-Oncology Resource Center
Immuno-Oncology Resource Center
December 01, 2019
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NCI gives $8.7 million grant to UCLA prostate cancer program

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The NCI awarded an $8.7 million grant to the prostate cancer program at UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and UCLA Health.

The money — funded through the Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) — will fund research designed to improve the diagnosis and treatment of men with prostate cancer.

“For the past 15 years, the SPORE grant has played a pivotal role in bringing a sense of cohesiveness to our program,” Robert E. Reiter, MD, director of UCLA’s prostate cancer program and principal investigator of the grant, said in a press release. “It funds projects that include researchers and scientists from diverse disciplines and backgrounds all around campus — such as chemistry, nanotechnology, radiology, pathology and stem cell biology — to help accelerate our goal of combating prostate cancer.”

The grant will fund three translational research projects over the next 5 years designed to identify better strategies to treat advanced-stage prostate cancer.

A team led by Michael E. Jung, PhD, and Matthew Rettig, MD, will aim to develop a drug inhibitor that can minimize resistance, extend survival and improve quality of life for men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer.

Owen Witte, MD, and colleagues, working with researchers at City of Hope, will test a new chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy to target the prostate stem cell antigen in prostate cancer.

A team led by Isla P. Garraway, MD, PhD, of UCLA, and Michael Freeman, PhD, of Cedars-Sinai, will investigate whether ONECUT2 can be a target for men with aggressive prostate cancers in which that protein is highly active.

“This technology being funded has the potential to transform the treatment of prostate cancer,” Michael A. Teitell, MD, PhD, director of Jonsson Cancer Center, said in the release. “The support from the SPORE grant makes it possible for our researchers and physicians to bring observations from the clinic into the lab, to better understand why some patients respond, why some don’t, and to really understand it at the scientific level so they can develop new drugs and tools to overcome the obstacles that currently exist.”