Prostate Cancer Foundation Adds Four New Scientists to Its 2010 Class of Young Investigators
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With Additional Funding Making These New Grants Possible, PCF Hopes to Soon Reach a Total of 50 Young Investigators Since 2008 SANTA MONICA, Calif.--(Business Wire)-- The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) announced the addition of four Young Investigators to its Class of 2010. PCF`s Young Investigator awards are designed to encourage the most innovative minds in cancer research to focus their careers on prostate cancer. They provide recipients with three years of funding to test transformational research questions for prostate cancer treatments and patients. With the addition of these four grants, the 2010 Class of young scientists now numbers 25 and represents a total $5.4 million investment in the global cancer research community by PCF. Including the 2010 Young Investigators, PCF is now funding 47 research projects led by young scientists around the world. Each Young Investigator award provides $225,000 over three years and is matched dollar for dollar or in kind by recipients` research institutions, making the total award worth $450,000 in support. By year end, PCF hopes to fund 50 such awards since 2008. "The addition of these four Young Investigators brings us closer to our goal of having 50 PCF Young Investigators pursuing innovative research programs for prostate cancer," said Jonathan W. Simons, MD, president and CEO of PCF. "We welcome their fresh ideas and look forward to seeing the contributions these young scientists will make in our field." The four new 2010 PCF Young Investigator Award recipients are: The Ressler-Gertz Family Foundation- PCF Young Investigator Award Julia Hayes, MD Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) screening is widely used to assist the early diagnosis of prostate cancer. However, benefits of PSA screening are controversial. Dr. Hayes proposes to develop a model that assesses the effect of PSA screening on overall life expectancy and quality of life, and measures PSA screening cost-effectiveness. To accomplish this, she will use large cohorts of existing data from both the United States and Europe that have detailed records of patients who have undergone PSA screening and those who have not. This research will inform clinical decision making and guide future clinical research and health policy. PCF Young Investigator Award (Anonymous Donor) Andrew Hsieh, MD University of California, San Francisco Decades of research have revealed the cascade of signaling events that are in part responsible for the initiation and progression of cancer. These molecular pathways are mediated through complex array of proteins called signaling molecules. The PI3K-AKT-mTOR pathway is one such signaling pathway that has been identified as being critical to prostate cancer progression. However, currently available medicines that can block this pathway, such as Rapamyacin, have shown disappointing results in the treatment of prostate cancer. Dr. Hsieh has discovered that the current medicines targeting the PI3K-AKT-mTOR pathway do not effectively impede the activity of an integral member of the pathway mTOR. Therefore, cancer-causing signaling is not blocked. He has identified a new molecule that is a potent inhibitor of mTOR activity. This award will support preclinical studies of this novel molecule that will accelerate its translation in to the clinic for patients with advanced prostate cancer. The Stewart Rahr - PCF Young Investigator Award Ram S. Mani, PhD University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Gene fusions in prostate cancer are early genetic alterations thought to initiate the process of cancer growth. These fusions are defined by the joining of two genes normally found in distinct regions of the genome. Dr. Mani proposes to exploit this finding by identifying molecules that block the cellular machinery responsible for generating gene fusions, thereby preventing prostate cancer initiation or progression. The identification of such molecules would define a new class of anti-cancer medicines that could slow cancer progression and may enhance the efficacy of existing treatments. The Stewart Rahr - PCF Young Investigator Award Edwin Posadas, MD University of Chicago Dr. Posadas` research goal is to identify the molecular mechanisms of prostate cancer metastasis. A protein called FYN, which is a member of a cancer-causing gene family, was identified in his laboratory as a possible regulator of metastasis. The biology of metastasis is driven by molecular changes within cancer cells that enable cell motility, which contributes to the spread of cancer throughout the body. Analysis of prostate cancer tumor specimens showed that there were higher levels of FYN in cancer cells as compared to normal cells. Dr. Posadas will comprehensively define the function of FYN in prostate cancer cells. These studies may lead to the development of novel targeted therapies that block FYN function and prevent prostate cancer metastasis and cases of advanced prostate cancer in patients. About the Prostate Cancer Foundation The Prostate Cancer Foundation is the world`s largest philanthropic source of support for prostate cancer research focused on discovering better treatments and a cure for recurrent prostate cancer. Founded in 1993, the PCF has raised nearly $400 million and provided funding to more than 1,500 research projects at nearly 200 institutions worldwide. The PCF also advocates for greater awareness of prostate cancer and more governmental research funds. PCF advocacy has helped produce a 20-fold increase in government funding for prostate cancer since 1994. More information about prostate cancer and the PCF can be found at www.pcf.org. Prostate Cancer Foundation Dan Zenka, APR Vice President, Communications 310-570-4714 firstname.lastname@example.org or Cara Lasala Sr. Public Relations Specialist 310-570-4727 email@example.com Copyright Business Wire 2010